Ground Hog Problems

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Ground hogs, also known as woodchucks or whistle pigs, are a common sight in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.Ground Hog (Woodchuck) Problems in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Ground hogs, also known as woodchucks or whistle pigs, are a common sight in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. Often seen during the day, ground hogs can be found roaming along roadsides or standing motionless on the edge of your backyard looking for food and scanning for predators. While rarely a threat to people, their extensive digging and fondness for fruits and vegetables can wreak havoc on your yard and garden.

Trapping and removal are an accepted and safe way to remove a problem ground hog from your property. A professional trapper, one who is licensed and experienced, can safely remove the nuisance animal.

What Is A Ground Hog?

Ground hogs are essentially large rodents. Adult ground hogs (Marmota monax) are stocky weighing between five and ten pounds and ranging from 17 to 26 inches in length. They have a broad, flat head with small ears, short, powerful legs and a short, bushy tail. The fur is long, coarse, and grizzled, grayish brown in color. With four long, curved claws on each front foot they are well suited for digging. Like other rodents, they have a pair of large, chisel-like front teeth that easily chew through vegetation and woody shrubs. If threatened they will make a loud, shrill whistle sound and dive into their burrow.

Ground hogs create complex tunnel systems for shelter, feeding, raising young, and hibernation. You can easily identify their burrows by the mounds of excavated dirt alongside entrances that can be as large as 10 to 12 inches in diameter.

Why Is A Ground Hog Hanging Out At My House?

Shelter - As with all wild animals, finding good shelter is critical. Because ground hogs have adapted well to the presence of humans, your property can be very attractive. Ground hogs will create tunnels and burrows throughout your yard and garden as well as under decks, sheds, patio slabs and rock walls.

Food - A good, reliable food source is another priority. Ground hogs are strict herbivores (vegetarians in other words) eating fruits, grasses, and most anything found in a garden. This makes your vegetable garden and flower beds an inviting buffet to a ground hog.

There's Only One Ground Hog - Should I Be Concerned?

Although even one ground hog can quickly become a nuisance around your home, where there's one, there's more! While ground hogs are typically solitary, they also mate and multiply. You may see only one, but there are most likely others around that you have not seen.

What Type Of Damage Can A Ground Hog Do?

Ground hogs remove an average of 700 lbs of dirt when digging a burrow. They can dig up to 45 feet of tunnels that can cause severe damage to your property. Burrows and tunnels can undermine structural foundations of patios, outbuildings, driveways, and more. These tunnel systems also form undetectable holes that can cave in unexpectedly. This creates a dangerous situation out of otherwise normal activities such as cutting your lawn with a riding mower, kids playing, walking your pet, etc.

Ground hogs eat between 1 and 2 pounds of your garden every day. Ground hogs graze on the contents of your lovely flower and vegetable gardens, and gnaw on your trees and shrubs. Considerable damage to the vegetation on your property can be accomplished seemingly overnight.

Although rarely a threat to humans, any animal under stress can become aggressive. With their large teeth and claws, ground hogs are capable of causing considerable physical harm if provoked. And although rabies is rare, wild animals should always be considered a potential carrier of disease. Extreme caution should be exercised around them.

Tips To Reduce Your Ground Hog Problem

In addition to trapping and removal by an animal control expert, you can help manage problem ground hogs in a number of ways:

Fence garden areas - Because ground hogs are good climbers, fencing must be at 3 to 4 feet high. Fencing must also be installed to a depth of one-foot to prevent tunneling into the garden.

Clear brush piles from your property - Brush piles, wood piles and tall grass provide hideouts for ground hogs. Eliminate these from your house, yard and garden areas.

Do not be friendly - A ground hog will happily settle onto your property if he does not feel threatened. Shout or throw sticks to make it perfectly clear that he is not welcome on your property.

If you suspect a problem ground hog in your area, call a licensed professional.

If you live in the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area and a ground hog is becoming a pest, trapping and removal may be the only long-term, safe, cost-effective solution. Trapping should be conducted by a trained, licensed professional to protect your family and your property as well as to ensure humane removal of the animal. A professional animal control expert can fully assess and address your animal nuisance problem.


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