Other members of the marmot family can be found throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, but where exactly can groundhogs be found?
Groundhogs, or Marmota monax, can be found throughout North America. This includes both Canada and the United States.
Where Do Groundhogs Come From?
Table of Contents
- 1 Where Do Groundhogs Come From?
- 2 What Kind Of Climate and Terrain Do Groundhogs Prefer?
- 3 In Which States Are There Groundhogs?
- 4 Are There Groundhogs Outside Of North America?
- 5 Have Groundhogs Been Introduced To Regions Where They Aren’t Originally From?
- 6 Are Groundhogs Considered An Invasive Species In Some Places?
Groundhogs are a type of marmot which belong to the same family as squirrels. They are native to the central and eastern United States as well as every province of Canada.
Within the United States they can be found from Maine all the way down to South Carolina, North Dakota down to Oklahoma, and everywhere in between.
They belong to the Marmota, or marmot genus which is composed of large ground squirrels.
What Kind Of Climate and Terrain Do Groundhogs Prefer?
Groundhogs prefer a warm and dry climate, though they can withstand cold and harsh winters by hibernating. Groundhogs that are located in the southeastern United States seldom have to hibernate during the winter thanks to steady year-round temperatures which provide an ample food source during the winter months.
They prefer areas where clear skies and sunshine are common because it helps them detect predators easier than when it is cloudy and raining. Groundhogs will typically stay in their burrows during rain for safety.
Groundhog populations are commonly found in clearings on the outside of forested areas. This includes meadows, fields, pastures, and rocky slopes, though they can be found burrowing in low-density forests as well. These clearings provide clear lines of sight and sound which are advantageous to the groundhog’s survival.
They create their burrows in dry soil that drains well, to avoid flooding during precipitation events.
In Which States Are There Groundhogs?
|State||Species Present?||Location||Conservation Status|
|Alabama||Yes||Central and northern AL, away from the coast||Secure|
|Alaska||Yes||East-central AK, from Fairbanks to the Yukon Territories border.||Secure|
|Arkansas||Yes||Western AR, including the Arkansas river valley, Ouachita, and Ozark mountain ranges||Apparently Secure|
|Connecticut||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Delaware||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Georgia||Yes||Northern GA, Piedmont, and North Georgia Mountain Range||Vulnerable|
|Idaho||Yes||East-central ID, Snake River, Twin Falls||Secure|
|Illinois||Yes||Southern and Western IL||Secure|
|Indiana||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Apparently Secure|
|Iowa||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Kansas||Yes||Eastern KS, east of Manhattan and Arkansas City||Apparently Secure|
|Kentucky||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Maryland||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Massachusetts||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state except for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard||Secure|
|Michigan||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Minnesota||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Unranked|
|Mississippi||Yes||Northern MS||Apparently Secure|
|Missouri||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Apparently Secure|
|Nebraska||Yes||Eastern NE||Apparently Secure|
|New Hampshire||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|New Jersey||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state, including the Jersey Shore||Secure|
|New York||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|North Carolina||Yes||Western NC, East of the Appalachian Mountains||Secure|
|North Dakota||Yes||Northeastern ND, Turtle Mountain||Unranked|
|Ohio||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Unranked|
|Oklahoma||Yes||Eastern OK, including Pawnee, Payne, Lincoln, Logan, Okfuskee, Pittsburg, and Oklahoma counties||Vulnerable|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Rhode Island||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|South Carolina||Yes||Northern SC||Unranked|
|South Dakota||Yes||Eastern and southeastern SD||Apparently Secure|
|Tennessee||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Vermont||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Virginia||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state, except the eastern coast||Secure|
|West Virginia||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
|Wisconsin||Yes||Wide distribution throughout the state||Secure|
Are There Groundhogs Outside Of North America?
Are There Groundhogs In Latin America?
Sadly, there are no groundhogs in Latin America, nor any members of the Marmota genus.
Are There Groundhogs In Europe?
Groundhogs do not exist in the wild in Europe, but countries like the UK, France, and Germany all contain relatives of the groundhog.
A common relative is the Alpine Marmot which closely resembles the groundhog and can be found throughout central and southern Europe.
Are There Groundhogs In Asia?
Though groundhogs are not present in the wild in Asia, the continent is home to many of its marmot cousins. There are 8 other species in Asia that share the same genus as the groundhog. These include:
|Common Name||Scientific Name||Specific Location|
|Black-capped marmot||M. camtschatica||Eastern Siberia|
|Bobak marmot||M. bobak||Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan|
|Forest-steppe marmot||M. kastschenkoi||Southern Russia|
|Gray marmot||M. baibacina||Siberia|
|Himalayan marmot||M. himalayana||Himalayan Mountains|
|Long-tailed marmot||M. caudata||Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, southern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, northern Pakistan, northern India, western China|
|Menzbier’s marmot||M. menzbieri||Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, northern Tajikistan|
|Tarbagan marmot||M. sibirica||Siberia|
Are There Groundhogs In Australia?
Australia is yet another continent without any groundhogs in the wild. The closest Australian mammal in the wild is the wombat. While their reproductive systems are quite different, they actually share more than a few features.
Wombats have similar teeth because even though they evolved far away from groundhogs, they had the same selective pressures present. Wombats are also known for burrowing underground to build their homes.
Are There Groundhogs In Africa?
There are no groundhogs in Africa either, but they are closely related to African ground squirrels. These include:
|Common Name||Scientific Name||Specific Location|
|Barbary ground squirrel||Atlantoxerus getulus||Barbary Coast, Algeria, Morocco, Canary Islands|
|Striped ground squirrel||Euxerus erythropus||Mauritania, Morocco, Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Uganda, Eritrea, Kenya, Ethiopia|
|Cape ground squirrel||Geosciurus inauris||Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia|
|Mountain ground squirrel||Geosciurus princeps||Angola, Namibia|
|Unstriped ground squirrel||Xerus rutilus||Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Eritrea, Somalia|
Have Groundhogs Been Introduced To Regions Where They Aren’t Originally From?
Groundhogs have not been intentionally introduced to regions outside of their native habitat, but their range within North America continues to grow every year.
Are Groundhogs Considered An Invasive Species In Some Places?
While groundhogs aren’t technically considered invasive by any United States federal agencies, they are very hard to get rid of once a population is established. Though they only reproduce once a year, they average about 6 pups per litter.
Because they are so avid about burrowing, they can destroy people’s land and gardens. Each groundhog usually has 2 burrows, one for summer and one for winter where they will hibernate. Both of these burrows can have multiple holes that groundhogs use to escape when they feel in danger.
These tunnels can go under fences and foundations of buildings, which will cause the structure to sag and potentially collapse.
Since groundhogs are herbivores and can be found in both urban and rural areas, they are known to decimate people’s gardens. Vegetable gardens act as a buffet of delicious treats for groundhogs that can be easily accessed by burrowing under fences.
Most states within the US consider groundhogs to be nuisance animals. This means that they can be legally removed from a property in a humane way without a permit.