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How to Get Rid of Groundhogs

Priyanka Kosta Sonkushre
There are quite a number of pests which create a nuisance in our surroundings, groundhogs being one of them. These furry creatures are difficult to get rid of once they establish themselves in a particular area. However, there are a few tips to get rid of them...
If you are a resident of the northern or central United States, I am sure you would have encountered groundhogs, which are one of the most widespread rodents in this region. These pests are famous for destroying flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, lawn grass, etc.
Therefore, it is imperative for residents to be aware of ways to get rid of them to control the damage. As these creatures live in burrows, one can have a tough time spotting them. Once spotted, pest control measures must be taken up so that their elimination is accomplished as soon as possible.
Groundhogs or woodchucks, as they are often called, look like large squirrels as they belong to the group named marmots. Adults are around 16-26 inches in length with short limbs and curved claws.
Their body is covered with fur to suit their surrounding climate. They have a gray undercoat which is covered with long guard hair. If you have noticed similar creatures causing destruction in and around your house, it's time to learn some tricks to drive them away!

Measures to Keep Groundhogs Away

Scare Devices

The simplest way to restrict the entry of groundhogs is to set up a scarecrow in the desired area. It must be light enough to change directions with the winds so that its motion can frighten these rodents.
Many scare devices like scare tape, lights sensitive to motion, etc., are also available for this purpose. You can also place a device capable of emitting high-frequency noise or pinwheels that spin at high speeds producing vibrations, at the entrance of the burrow so that they get irritated and vacate the place.

Gas Cartridges

Cartridges releasing poisonous gases is another way to tackle this problem. These cartridges must be ignited before being inserted into the burrow, and the entry must be sealed with grass and stones.
When inside, these smoke bombs release carbon monoxide or sulfur dioxide which are toxic gases capable of suffocating an animal to death. This measure must be used on rainy days when a groundhog is not so active, and you are sure of its presence inside the den. This method is not feasible for human dwellings due to the toxic factor associated with it.

Automobile Exhaust

If you do not wish to invest in smoke bombs that are potentially dangerous to life, there is another way to ride away troublesome groundhogs.
All you need to do is to attach a hose to your vehicle's exhaust outlet and insert it inside the burrow. Switch on the vehicle and let the fumes fill the burrow completely. The expelled gases will definitely choke the animal and force it to leave the dwelling. It is better to have a trap at the exit of the burrow so that the rodent gets caught in it.


Groundhogs love to feed on vegetables, fruits, garden plants, etc. This point is noted to devise a trick for their elimination. Sprinkle a decent amount of Epsom salt to impart a bad taste to these eatables. Being picky eaters, groundhogs will leave their den and move to another area in search of suitable food.
However, make sure you wash the eatables thoroughly when you pick them for consumption. To repel these creatures via foul smell, you can either place rugs soaked in ammonia or moth balls inside and at the exit points of the burrow. You can also pour fox or coyote urine in their burrow to scare them.


As groundhogs are experts in burrowing, fencing only above the ground will not serve the purpose. It is important to create a barrier below the surface so that their entry can be prevented.
A chicken wire fence that stands 2-4 feet above the ground and runs about 1 foot deep can be used. To increase protection levels, you can bend the ends of the underground mesh at a right angle pointing towards the opposite side of the garden. This will prevent the entry even if the rodent tries to enter via burrowing.

Live Traps

Lethal animal traps are also available in the market, however, it is better if you use non-lethal live traps. These traps are in the form of a cage with a single opening. Baits like lettuce, carrots, peas, etc., can be used to attract the rodent.
Place the trap where the rodent visits frequently or right outside the burrow, and carry out this task in daylight when the target moves out in search of food. When the rodent enters the cage to feed on the bait, the door shuts down leaving it trapped. Trapped pests can be released in selected places suggested by local wildlife agencies.

Toxic Pellets

This is a lethal method to eradicate groundhogs. Before using this method, you must be prepared to remove the corpse of the dead rodent once the poison has done its job. If not done on time, the smell will leave you nauseous.
Get some poisonous pellets from local stores and drop them in the burrow. If you buy a liquid poison, pour it directly into the den. Keep checking for signs of death of the rodent. Once confirmed, dispose or bury the corpse appropriately.


This must be the last option to eliminate these undesired pests, as shooting a live organism is not pleasing. If at all you need to take up this measure, make sure your state regulations allow shooting groundhogs in case they have become a problem.
Shooting these rodents is not difficult as these are slow-paced in nature. However, you need to have the patience to look for and chase them when they come out of the den in search of food and water.

Some Useful Tips For You

✔ Surround your garden or yard with thorny bushes like barberry which have a bad taste and are difficult to cross over.
✔ Plant some vegetation such that it surrounds the entry and exit of the burrow. This will hinder visibility and make it difficult for the groundhog to move in and out of its den, thus compelling it to leave the place.
✔ A vegetable garden is best protected by either planting flowers like marigolds, daffodils etc., or vegetables like garlic and onions, so that their strong smell masks the odor of other vegetables growing in the garden.
✔ Set up a separate garden having some of the favorite vegetables which groundhogs love to eat. This way you can contain them in a particular area.
✔ If you have a pet dog, train it to guard the area from other creatures. Rodents are usually scared of dogs and would not dare to make an entry.
Facts about groundhogs reveal that these are very shy creatures who are always in search of hiding places, and dig their burrows very easily. To prevent them from making your private property their home, regular lawn maintenance is extremely necessary.
Timely removal of bushes, grasses, stones and wood pieces, which are apt hiding places, will prevent groundhogs from capturing your area and creating a nuisance.