Made famous by Hollywood movies and news broadcasts of seasonal predictions, groundhogs are well known rodents across the globe. But how well do you really know that complex creature in your backyard?
Furthermore, how do you get rid of groundhogs when they are causing your property and garden so much destruction? Is there a way to get rid of them humanely? How do you get rid of groundhogs using home remedies, traps, and gasses?
If you are being tormented by the burrowing dens of a groundhog in your yard, you’re not alone. But don’t worry, there are plenty of methods you can use to get rid of them, and we are here to help.
Join us as we learn all about these burrowing pests and how to get rid of groundhogs for good.
What Are Groundhogs?
Groundhogs are large rodents who belong to the marmot family
Groundhogs are a part of the marmot family, scientifically known as Marmota monax. They grow to be between 16 and 22 inches long and can weigh as much as 13 pounds.
These hefty rodents are solitary creatures who spend most of their time burrowing beneath the earth. They make long runways with many chambers where they sleep, eat, and hoard food.
Also known as woodchucks, marmots, ground squirrels, and whistle pigs, groundhogs are perhaps best known for their “psychic ability” to predict the end of winter.
But if you’ve ever had a groundhog make his home in your yard or garden, you know these rodents are also talented burrowers who can move incredible amounts of earth and wreak havoc on our landscaping.
Let’s learn more about the damage groundhogs can cause and how to get rid of groundhogs for good.
Groundhog Damage – How To Recognize A Groundhog Problem
Groundhogs burrow deeply and can make very large dens.
Most of us have grown up watching groundhogs predict the end of winter on Groundhog Day, so it’s hard for some of us to think of these creatures as anything but furry little weathermen.
However, groundhogs can be a major problem for those with large expanses of land, farms, and gardens. Groundhogs are capable of moving up to 700 pounds of dirt for just one den, and one groundhog can make as many as five dens at a time!
So while you may only have just one of these solitary rodents in your yard, you could still be dealing with a lot of damage.
A groundhog digs deeply underneath the earth, creating large runways and chambers where they store food, sleep, use the bathroom, and eat. These dens can be between eight to 66 feet and often have one entryway with four or so exits. These dens can cause serious damage to the health of your lawn and garden, weakening tree root systems and destroying landscaping.
However vast, these dens may also be just one of your concerns.
Groundhogs are ravenous herbivores, and eat all kinds of plants and veggies. Their favorite crops include carrots, peas, and beans but they also enjoy fruits like pears and apples, and they can climb, so those of you with fruit trees aren’t out of the woods.
We should also note that groundhogs are somewhat lazy, which makes sense considering how much time they spend eating. For this reason, you will likely find groundhog burrows near a food source, like near your garden or near a fruit tree.
Worse, groundhogs won’t just come into your garden and politely take one or two of your hard-grown veggies. Instead, they’ll behave like naughty toddlers and “claim” every last bit of food available to them at once, often taking nibbles from anything edible until they are full, leaving entire crops behind that are no longer harvestable.
So, how do you know if you have a groundhog problem?
You may have a groundhog problem if you:
- Physically see a groundhog on your property
- Find scattered dens, tunnels or burrows that are 10 to 12 inches around
- Find damaged plants or crops with one or two bites taken out of them
- See decapitated flowers, dandelions, and carrots around your yard
Groundhogs can also be dangerous. They are active during dawn and dusk, and can be aggressive if they feel cornered. Furthermore, groundhogs are also known to carry some serious diseases, including rabies and hepatitis.
Now, are you ready to learn how to get rid of groundhogs? We thought so. Let’s take a look at the best methods for how to get rid of groundhogs successfully.
How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs – Three Popular Methods
There are three popular methods you can use to get rid of groundhogs.
While prevention is typically the most successful route you can take when looking at how to get rid of groundhogs, you sometimes don’t realize you even have a groundhog problem until it is too late.
If you have noticed groundhog activity on your property, there are three common methods experts recommend you use to get rid of them, including:
Groundhog trapping is one of the most successful methods you can use when looking for how to get rid of groundhogs. The reason trapping works so well is because groundhogs are solitary rodents who usually live on their own.
Therefore, you typically only have to worry about trapping one single groundhog and relocating it between three to five miles from your property. Once you relocate the groundhog, you can go home and fill the holes, then go about using preventive measures to keep any future groundhogs from returning.
Repelling groundhogs can be used alongside trapping to help keep them from coming back once you get rid of them. While repelling isn’t always the most successful means of completely getting rid of a groundhog problem once you have one, it will be useful in keeping groundhogs from returning once you evict them.
Gassing is another method some people use when looking for how to get rid of groundhogs. Unfortunately, this method invloves toxic gasses that kill the groundhogs in their den. Keep in mind that these poison gasses may also be harmful to people, pets, and the environment.
We should also note that gassing a groundhog is not always the most effective method of removal as these rodents often have many different exit points and may be able to find their way out of their burrow before the gas poisons them. Furthermore, once you do kill the groundhog, you will still need to go about using repellents to keep any new groundhogs from returning.
The Below Video Further Discusses Methods Of How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs Successfully
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Now, let’s take a closer look at how to get rid of groundhogs using each of the above methods.
How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs Using Traps
Trapping groundhogs requires baiting and relocating.
Preventative measures are key when keeping your yard and garden safe from groundhog destruction. However, if a groundhog does get into your yard, one of the best methods for how to get rid of groundhogs is by using traps.
Because groundhogs are solitary animals, you will find that using a catch and release trap can be very effective in eradicating your groundhog problem in a safe and humane way.
We have listed some of our favorite live traps for how to get rid of groundhogs below.
OxGord Live Animal Trap
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First on our list of how to get rid of groundhogs using traps is this live animal trap by Oxgord. It is large enough for bigger rodents like groundhogs and strong enough to trap animals like raccoons.
This is a baited catch and release trap that is made with smooth edges inside to keep the groundhog safe from injuring himself. The mesh is sturdy and safe for you as well, with a covered top near the handle for extra safe relocating.
Havahart Large Groundhog Trap
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Another live trap we like is by Havahart. This trap is specifically designed for those looking for how to get rid of groundhogs using a live catch and release trap. It is for bigger rodents and animals like raccoons and groundhogs and is spring loaded, catching and holding the groundhog until you are ready to release him.
The trap also has smoothed edges inside for the groundhog’s safety. It is rust and corrosion resistant, as well as escape resistant.
HomGarden Live Animal Trap
HomGarden offers another catch and release trap we like for how to get rid of groundhogs. It is similar to the other traps listed above with strong, sturdy mesh material that won’t hurt a frightened groundhog once trapped inside. The metal door is spring loaded to help prevent escaping and the handle above has a covered base so you are safe when relocating the groundhog.
This trap is also effective to use with other yard pests like rabbits, chipmunks, gophers, squirrels, and raccoons.
H&B Luxuries Groundhog Trap
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Last we have a live animal trap offered by H&B Luxuries. This trap is also rust resistant, moisture resistant, corrosion resistant and escape proof. You can use it over and over again and it offers a safe and effective way to help you figure out how to get rid of groundhogs without the use of gasses.
How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs Using Repellents
Many people find repellents to be excellent and safe deterrents to keep groundhogs out of their yard.
As we mentioned briefly above, using repellents to help you figure out how to get rid of groundhogs is very important. This method should be used alongside trapping, as it will help repel any future groundhogs from moving in and may help assist you in kicking current groundhogs out.
We have listed some of our favorite groundhog repellent products for how to get rid of groundhogs below.
100% Castor Oil Groundhog Repellent
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Castor oil is a popular rodent and pest repellent product people love for how to get rid of groundhogs because it is effective and safe to use. This order offers 100% pure castor oil to help you get rid of groundhogs on your property.
Many experts recommend simply pouring the oil in and around any groundhog holes you find in your yard. Groundhogs hate the smell of castor oil and will typically stay away from the odor. However, you may need to repeat this application a few times and use some other groundhog control remedies to ensure the groundhog has vacated your property.
Bonide All Animal Repellent
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What we like best about Bonide for how to get rid of groundhogs is that it is people and pet safe. We also like that it helps eliminate other pest problems by deterring rabbits, beavers, rats, skunks, mice, porcupines, chipmunks and more.
These granules are completely biodegradable and safe for the environment, so you can use them in your yard and in your garden without worrying that your flowers or plants will be harmed.
The granulas also help to vacate current pests like groundhogs and will keep them from coming back for up to two months. They must be wet to work, so once you sprinkle them around your yard it is best to hose them down.
I Must Garden Groundhog Repellent
This is another pet and people safe repellent you can use for how to get rid of groundhogs. It is made with all natural ingredients, so it is environmentally friendly and safe to use around your garden and plants.
It works by deterring rodents and other pests like groundhogs using scents and ingredients they hate and deterring them from wanting to eat your plants.
You can use this product all year around and even in the winter, making it ideal for those who live in changing climates.
Tomcat Groundhog Repellent
Tomcat is a popular product we like for helping to repel a number of pests and rodents. This particular groundhog repellent uses essential oils like peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, and garlic oil to help deter groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels, and more.
One order can cover up to 1,000 square feet. However, while you can use this groundhog repellent in your yard and on plants, it is not recommended to use it on edible plants like herbs and vegetables.
How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs Using Gas
Using gas to kill groundhogs may only be a temporary fix.
If your other methods for how to get rid of groundhogs have not worked and you feel you must turn to using poison, the best way to go about this is to use gasses that eliminate groundhogs in their dens.
Once you use the gas, you can fill the hole yourself so you do not have to remove the rodent. Some of the top recommended gas for how to get rid of groundhogs in their dens are listed below.
The Giant Destroyer Rodent Killer
This product is a gas poison that allows you to eliminate burrowing rodents like groundhogs and other pests like rats, skunks, moles, and gophers underground. You simply locate the groundhog hole and drop the gasser in, and let it do its job.
However, keep in mind that this is a poison and can be harmful and toxic to humans and pets. It should therefore be used with extreme caution.
Revenge Rodent Smoke Bomb
Another smoke bomb you can use to get rid of groundhogs is the Revenge Rodent Smoke Bomb. It works similarly to the other poison on this list as you just drop it into the groundhog’s hole and let it do its job.
This product also gets rid of other pests like rats, gophers, moles, and voles. Again, this product uses a strong poison gas to kill rodents and should be used with caution around people and pets.
How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs Using Home Remedies
Garlic is a natural deterrent groundhogs hate.
Looking for how to get rid of groundhogs without using traps, repellents, and gasses? You may be surprised to learn that there are actually several effective methods of removing groundhog without having to use any of the above traps or gasses.
In fact, since groundhogs are solitary animals, it may not be as difficult as you think to get rid of them using ingredients you already have at home.
Here is how to get rid of groundhogs by using the following home remedies:
- Epsom Salts
Groundhogs are deterred by epsom salt, which is wonderful news because this is a safe, natural, and inexpensive way for you to deter these pests from digging up your yard and eating all your plants.
You can sprinkle epsom salt around any burrows you find throughout your yard and place bowls or tins of epsom salt near gardens, landscaping, or plants you want to keep groundhogs from destroying.
- Blood Meal
Blood meal is a form of natural fertilizer and high protein meal supplement for animals. It is made of animal blood and, while it can be good for your yard and garden, it is a strong deterrent for herbivores like groundhogs. Sprinkle blood meal around your yard and garden and around any groundhog dens you see to help repel and eliminate them.
- Dirty Kitty Litter
If you have a cat, then you’ll be happy to know you now have a use for all that stinky waste in their kitty litter. After your cat uses the bathroom, pour their dirty kitty litter around any burrows you find in your yard.
Cats are a natural predator of rodents, so if you are looking for how to get rid of groundhogs quickly and effectively using home remedies, this might be your solution.
- Human Hair
Just as groundhogs don’t want to hang out with predator cats, they also don’t want to be around the scent of dangerous humans. If you have human hair clippings, you can sprinkle them around the den entrances to help deter and get rid of groundhogs.
Garlic has a strong and overpowering odor that many rodents hate. If you want to know how to get rid of groundhogs using garlic, it’s super simple. Just crush or dice fresh garlic and sprinkle it wherever you have noticed groundhog activity.
You can also put garlic around your plants and gardens to help deter other rodents and plant-eating pests from destroying your landscaping. However, we should note that garlic is toxic to dogs so we don’t recommend you use this method if you have dogs who often play in the yard.
- Use Groundhog-Repellent Plants
Wondering how to get rid of groundhogs using plants? There are a number of plants that groundhogs hate that you can plant in your yard to help get rid of them, like sage, thyme, lemon balm, mint, rosemary, chives, baisl, oregano and lavender.
- Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a beneficial spice, but it’s super hot and can irritate the eyes and nose of a groundhog. In it’s dry spice form, sprinkle cayenne pepper around the groundhog’s den to help deter him from entering or exiting.
It is best to use this method repeatedly, especially after it rains or get wet, and try and get all the den holes you know of on your property.
Quick Facts – What You Should Know About Groundhogs
Groundhogs are reclusive animals, although they can be dangerous to people.
Yes, groundhogs are destructive, but they are also an important rodent that plays a vital role in our ecosystem. In fact, groundhogs are natural aeroraters and can actually help improve the health of soil. They also provide a natural fertilizer to our land and are a food source to wild predators like foxes and coyotes.
Let’s take a few moments to learn some interesting facts about groundhogs.
Male Groundhogs Are Very Chivalrous
Although quite solitary, a male groundhog will travel around to different dens of female groundhogs and politely introduce himself during mating season. Once the male finds the female he gets on best with, the pair will stick together in the same den until just before the female groundhog gives birth.
Baby Groundhogs Are Called Chucklings
If this isn’t adorable enough, chucklings usually stick with their mother for a good two months before heading off to make their own dens. Only one litter of chucklings are born a year, with each litter ranging between two and six young. Sometimes the father groundhog will rejoin the family once the babies have gotten old enough to leave the den, but not all the time.
That’s right! These rodents take a long snooze from October all the way to the start of mating season, which is between March and April. They even make a special hibernation den that is specifically designed to keep them warm during the cold winter months.
Tips On Preventing A Future Groundhog Problem
Prevention is key to help keep your yard and garden safe from groundhog destruction.
- Install A Groundhog-Proof Fence Around Your Garden
If you live in a region that is known for groundhog problems, the first thing you should do is install a fence around any part of your property you don’t want these pests entering. Fences will also help keep out other plant-destroying pests like deer, rabbits, gophers, voles, and more.
However, keep in mind that when it comes to how to get rid of groundhogs and other burrowing pests, you’ll need to bury a fence at least two feet underground. Groundhogs can also climb, so try and make sure your fence is at least four feet tall.
- Keep Your Grass Cut Short And Fill Old Holes
Groundhogs prefer longer grasses and will certainly seek out any abandoned groundhog holes to call their own. If your yard or property has tall grasses where groundhogs can hide in and old burrows for them to dig in, then this is prime real estate.
Make your yard and property less habitable to groundhogs by keeping your lawn trimmed and filling any abandoned holes or dens you come across.
- Harvest Crops ASAP
If you have a vegetable garden, keep an eye on it and don’t let crops sit around. Once they are ready to be harvested, remove them from your garden. Otherwise they will attract groundhogs and other pests.
- Use Castor Oil
How do you get rid of groundhogs using castor oil?
As we mentioned above, the best use of castor oil is as a preventative. Once you know you have removed the groundhogs from their holes, experts recommend pouring castor oil in and around the abandoned burrows to help prevent them from returning.
If you pour castor oil around and in a groundhog’s burrow while he’s home, he may just borrow deeper and come out elsewhere.
- Remove Groundhog Nesting Areas
Groundhogs nest in areas that provide shelter and cover. Loose debris like logs and wood piles are ideal places for these rodents to reproduce. Clear your property of as many wood piles and loose debris as you can to help deter groundhogs.
Remember, after trapping groundhogs, one of the best and most promising methods for how to get rid of groundhogs for good is by using preventative techniques. If you follow the above steps carefully, you will likely be able to get a handle on your groundhog problem from here on out.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.