Groundhog Holes And Burrows: How To Identify Groundhogs Dens? (2024)

Groundhog holes and burrows can be a fun and interesting place to explore. These features can be found near homes, in parks, or near other natural features. There are many different types of groundhog holes and burrows, so it is important to know how to identify them.

In this article, I have explained everything you need to know about groundhog holes and other aspects of dealing with groundhog holes. Keep reading to understand!

Table of Contents

What is a groundhog?

Groundhog Holes And Burrows: How To Identify Groundhogs Dens? (1)

Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are a type of rodent that is found in North America.

They are well-known for their weather predictions, which they make by looking at their shadow. They are also known for their burrows and holes, which they use to live in and store food.

As interesting as these creatures are and as intelligent as they must be to make weather predictions, their predictions are not always correct. Nevertheless, they are fun to watch and can be found in many parts of the country.

What is a groundhog hole, burrow, or den?

A groundhog hole is an entrance to an underground burrow where groundhogs (also known as woodchucks) live. The entrances to groundhog burrows can typically be found near the base of trees, along fence lines, or in open fields.

A groundhog hole is a hole that a groundhog digs to live in. A groundhog burrow is a system of tunnels dug by groundhogs. And finally, a groundhog den is the specific place where a female groundhog gives birth and raises her young.

Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, create burrows for a variety of reasons. The most important one is that the burrow protects them from predators. They will also use the burrow for breeding and hibernating during the winter months.

It is important to be able to identify a groundhog den so you can avoid disturbing the animal when it is hibernating or helping you deal with it effectively if it is proving problematic for you.

How to identify a groundhog hole?

Groundhog Holes And Burrows: How To Identify Groundhogs Dens? (2)

Groundhog holes are relatively easy to identify. The entrances of their burrows are large, about the size of a football, and they have mound-shaped mounds around the entrance.

Further, these holes are small, crescent-shaped openings in the ground that lead to an underground network. The opening is usually about 2-3 inches wide, and the hole can be anywhere from a few inches to a foot deep.

The tunnels of the burrow system may extend up to 100 feet in length but are typically no deeper than 6 feet below the surface. The shape of the hole can help you identify if a groundhog or another animal dug it.

Groundhog holes can vary in size, but the hole will be larger than that of a squirrel. If you are unsure if it is a groundhog hole, look for signs of recent activity such as grass cuttings or overturned earth.

You may also see the animal’s droppings, which resemble large rabbit droppings. If there are several holes close together, it is likely that you are looking at a groundhog den.

What is the ideal location for a groundhog hole or den?

Groundhogs typically live in holes (dens) in well-vegetated areas such as crop fields, meadows, or pastures. They dig their dens into the ground and prefer to have a lot of cover from above, whether that is trees, shrubs, or tall grass.

The holes are usually located at a slight elevation to avoid flooding during rainy seasons, and they are often close to a food source. They will also try to find a spot with loose, soft soil so it is easy to dig. If the ground is wet, they will avoid that area and look for another spot.

How to identify groundhog holes and burrows in your yard, and why do you need to take action against it?

Groundhogs are a type of burrowing mammal, and they can cause some serious damage to your property. Not only do their holes create ground instability, but they can also be home to a variety of parasites and diseases.

There are several other reasons why you would want to take action against groundhog holes in your yard as well.

Prevention of indirect damage, hazard mitigation, and repair costs are among the most important. By taking preventative measures, you can avoid costly damages down the road.

It is important to be aware of groundhog holes and burrows before they become a problem. Basically, if you begin to notice new holes in your lawn or on your property, it is most likely the result of a groundhog.

What are the two most important things you need to remember about groundhogs?

Groundhog Holes And Burrows: How To Identify Groundhogs Dens? (3)

The first thing you need to remember about groundhogs is that groundhogs are most active when they are looking for food and mates during the springtime. They may also be seen during other times of the year, but they will be more active at this time.

Essentially, these animals begin to become more active as winter fades away. That could be at different months of the year, depending on where you live.

The second most important thing that you need to know about groundhogs is that prevention is key when it comes to groundhog infestations.

Sealing your home against the presence of these animals by adding a fence around your property and keeping your outdoors free of woodpiles and mulch can be extremely helpful in keeping these animals away.

5 Natural ways to get rid of groundhogs and their holes.

Epsom salts

Groundhogs can be a nuisance, digging holes all over your yard and garden. While there are a few natural ways to get rid of them, one of the most effective methods is using Epsom salt. Sprinkle Epsom salts near the groundhog’s entrances and exits to keep them away.

As a matter of fact, you have to be very diligent to identify when groundhogs leave their dens to forage for food. If you can time it right, you can easily get rid of them using natural methods like Epsom salts.

Castor oil

One natural way to get rid of groundhogs is to use castor oil. Castor oil is a vegetable-based product that can be used to deter groundhogs. It can be sprayed around the perimeter of your property or poured down their burrows.

The only thing to remember if you’re using this method is that you will have to watch when the groundhog leaves its hole or burrow for food.

Human hair

You can also get rid of groundhogs and their holes by using human hair clippings. You can either bury the hair clippings near the hole or place them around the hole. The smell of human hair is offensive to groundhogs and will discourage them from coming back.

I know it seems absurd to think that human hair can keep groundhogs at bay. But think of it this way, you wouldn’t want to enter a shower with somebody else’s hair clogging up the drain either!

Cat litter

Cat litter stinks when it’s already been soiled. And groundhogs agree. In fact, they agree to the extent that they would actively avoid going anywhere near cat litter because of how terrible it smells.

The plus for you is that you can use cat litter to keep groundhogs away from your property by sprinkling or placing a basket of it after your cat has already used it, near the hole that it has dug for itself.

Natural scents that are simply too strong for groundhogs

The ultimate method to get rid of groundhogs without going too out of your way is to use scents that they find offensive. Common smells that deter groundhogs include cayenne pepper, garlic, and lavender.

You can also try planting herbs like basil, chives, lemon balm, mint, sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano around your garden to keep them away.

Since these plants and herbs are easily available in your kitchen, you won’t have to bother much about sourcing them or having them go waste after you buy them!

How can you understand whether a groundhog hole is in active use?

Groundhog Holes And Burrows: How To Identify Groundhogs Dens? (4)

Groundhogs are essentially burrowing animals. They dig tunnels and live in underground dens. If you spot a hole or mound of dirt near your home, it is important to determine whether it is an active groundhog den.

An active den means that the groundhog is currently living there and maybe a threat to your property.

The way to identify an active groundhog den is by placing sticks at the entrance and checking on it daily for at least three days.

If the sticks have been disturbed, it means that the groundhog is using the den; if the sticks are still in place, then the groundhog is not currently using the den.

Can groundhogs chew through the wood?

Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are not adept at actively moving timber per se. They may make small holes in the side of a tree to get to the succulent inner bark, but they don’t really eat wood. Groundhogs can’t digest wood.

That said, groundhogs can chew through a lot of wood. The fact is that groundhogs need to keep chewing on something because they must keep filing their incisors, much like their smaller counterparts of the squirrel family.

Since wood is available in bountiful quantities in their natural habitat, they end up chewing on it.

How can you keep groundhogs from digging under your shed?

Groundhogs can be a nuisance when they start to dig under decks, sheds, and other structures on your property. They can damage the foundation of these structures as well as create tunnels that are unsafe.

One way to prevent them from doing this is to install a steel mesh fence around the area you want to protect. This will stop them from being able to dig under it.

Bear in mind that you should install a fence around the perimeter of the structure. The fence should be high enough so that the animals can’t jump over it, and it should curve outward so that they can’t dig underneath it.

How many babies do groundhogs give birth to in a litter?

Groundhogs typically give birth to 2-5 babies at a time, though the litter size can range anywhere from 1-to 8. The mother groundhog will typically have her young in late February or early March.

The young groundhogs, or kits, are blind and hairless when they are born. They stay with their mother until they are ready to leave the den and fend for themselves.

What is a groundhog’s favorite food?

Groundhogs are herbivores that enjoy a variety of vegetables. They particularly love alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lettuce, broccoli, and plantain. However, if you don’t have any vegetables around, they will settle for twigs, bark bugs, and blossoms.


Groundhogs are known as burrowing creatures because they like to dig holes and build networks under the soil. And as fascinating as that may be from a zoological point of view, I doubt anybody wants to find out by having their front yard collapse because of the burrow network a groundhog built.

Therefore, make sure you pay attention to any signs of a groundhog’s presence in your front yard and keep your property free of groundhog holes!

Groundhog Holes And Burrows: How To Identify Groundhogs Dens? (2024)


Groundhog Holes And Burrows: How To Identify Groundhogs Dens? ›

Summer burrows have multiples entrances with a mound of soil next to them. Groundhogs generally dig their burrows in areas that are slightly elevated to avoid being flooded during rainy seasons. Burrows are usually on a slope in well-vegetated areas such as crop fields, meadows or pastures.

How do you identify a groundhog den? ›

Groundhogs spend most of their time in their underground burrows, which have one main entrance that can be identified by a large mountain of excavated soil immediately outside the entrance hole. The burrow also has one to four auxiliary entrances. All groundhog burrows are basically laid out in the same way.

How do you find a groundhog den? ›

Their burrow system is located about 2-4 feet underground and may extend 15-25 feet horizontally. The main groundhog nest chamber is usually located at the end of the burrow. The main entrance is seen as a mound of fresh earth around the opening.

What do groundhog nests look like? ›

Unless they're raising young, groundhogs live alone. Their burrows feature one main entrance hole and up to four other exits, usually located near trees, walls, or fences. Each opening is between 10 and 12 inches in diameter. As woodchuck offspring prepare to leave the nest, additional holes will appear in lawns.

How do you know if a groundhog hole is active? ›

If you spot a mound of dirt or whole under your porch or at your shed first be certain it is an active den. The way to do this is by placing sticks at the entrance and check on it daily for at least 3 days. If the sticks have been walked upon or moved then your den is active.

How deep is a groundhog den? ›

Groundhog habitat

They dig burrows that can be 6 feet (1.8 meters) deep, and 20 feet (6 m) wide. These underground homes can also have two to a dozen entrances, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Typically, they have a burrow in the woods for the winter and a burrow in grassy areas for the warmer months.

How many groundhogs live in a den? ›

For a greater part of the year, burrow occupancy is limited to one groundhog per unit. Exceptions occur when males visit the burrows of females during a late winter breeding season, and consequently, following a 32-day gestation period, when females give birth to four to six kits.

How long do groundhogs stay in their den? ›

Woodchucks—commonly known as groundhogs—can live in both urban and rural areas throughout most of Virginia. They are active throughout the spring, summer, and early fall, though are true hibernators and remain in their dens October-February.

How far do groundhogs travel from their den? ›

Despite their intense hibernation habits, male groundhogs may wake up early to start looking for potential mates. They typically roam within 2-3 acres outside of their own burrow.

What time of day do groundhogs leave their den? ›

Activity: Groundhogs are diurnal (active during the day) from spring to fall. Most activity occurs during the early morning and early evening hours, at which groundhogs emerge from their burrows to gather food. Hibernation: Groundhogs are true hibernators, entering a deep sleep in October and emerging in early spring.

What is groundhogs worst enemy? ›

The primary predators of groundhogs are hawks, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, dogs and humans. However, motorized vehicles kill many groundhogs each year.

How do you get a groundhog to leave? ›

What's the best way to get rid of groundhogs?
  1. Partially dig the entrance out.
  2. Clear vegetation away from entrances.
  3. Put a harmless but strong-smelling substance just inside the entrance, such as urine-saturated clumps of kitty litter or a capsaicin-based repellent.

Do groundhogs come out every night? ›

From spring to fall, groundhogs are most active during the day and sleep at night, so they don't usually come out after dark. However, it might occasionally happen that you spot a groundhog roaming your garden at night.

Do groundhog holes have two entrances? ›

Groundhogs typically have multiple exits and entrances to their burrows, so if one becomes blocked, they can use another. However, if all exits are blocked, the groundhog will be trapped and may suffocate if it cannot dig a new exit.

What month do groundhogs have babies? ›

The breeding season extends from early March to late April, after hibernation. A mated pair remains in the same den throughout the 32-day gestation period. The male leaves the den as birth of the young approaches, in April or May. One litter is produced annually, usually containing two to six blind and hairless babies.

Can you just fill in a groundhog hole? ›

Fill the groundhog holes with topsoil, sand, or gravel. Just make sure there aren't any groundhogs trapped inside that could dig back out. ​​Block the holes with large rocks or a panel of chicken wire so groundhogs don't return to old burrows. Try flooding the tunnel with water to drive a groundhog out of hiding.

How do you get rid of a groundhog den? ›

Sprinkle granular repellents near a groundhog's burrow and also around your garden to form a barrier, or spray them on plants to make them distasteful. Human hair, pet fur and used kitty litter may also work, along with electronic spikes that use sound or vibration and motion-activated sprinklers. Mimic predators.

What does it look like when a groundhog is in your yard? ›

A surefire way to know if you have a groundhog problem is by looking for signs of digging. Burrow holes and piles of dirt can indicate that a groundhog has taken up residence on your property.

Do groundhogs come back to the same place every year? ›

Even though groundhogs favor forested areas, they are very adaptable and will keep coming back to places where they are able to find plenty of food and a suitable shelter.

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