7 Things Groundhogs Like To Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips) (2022)

Did you know that groundhogs are practically a farmer’s nightmare? This “small bear’s” appetite and chewing power are astonishing. But can you blame them? They need to keep eating and eating some more to ready themselves for winter.

Groundhogs are powerful diggers besides their love for food. So, what do groundhogs eat?

Table of Contents

  • Groundhogs Habits And Biology
  • What Do Groundhogs Like To Eat Most?
  • Foods To Avoid When Feeding Groundhogs
  • Tips For Feeding Groundhogs
  • FAQS (Frequently asked questions)
  • Summary

Groundhogs Habits And Biology

Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks or ground pigs, belong to a family of large ground squirrels and weigh upto 6kgs. They are primarily found in North America and Canada.

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Wild groundhogs live up to six years and are the largest of the squirrel family.

Groundhogs are solitary except for early spring after they emerge from hibernation to seek out females to mate.

Farmers hate groundhogs as they eat their crops. Groundhogs can overtake your property. They eat flowers and plants in gardens and also eat grasses and weeds found in your yard. Seedlings are also not spared by woodchucks and are eaten before they grow.

Surprisingly, groundhogs don’t drink water. They stay hydrated from eating succulent (juicy) plants wet from dew or rain. Did you know that groundhogs can also swim? Swimming helps them escape predators, and their burrows also keep them safe.

7 Things Groundhogs Like To Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips) (1)

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Did you know that female groundhog give birth to blind and hairless babies? They give birth after one month, and their babies are called pups or kits.

Groundhogs front teeth (incisors) are ever-growing and only wear down through continuous usage. Let’s not forget about their sharp claws. The constant digging from groundhogs keeps their nails at a decent length.

In late summer, continuing into fall, groundhogs feed a lot taking in nutrients to build up fat reserves for winter. They hibernate in burrows (underground tunnels) which are upto 6ft deep during the cold months of winter, as they encounter difficulties finding plants to eat.

Groundhogs remain in hibernation from October till February, where their breathing and heart rate drop. Bear in mind; they hibernate less in areas with hotter temperatures than those with lower temperatures, meaning they can emerge from hibernation sooner or later, depending on their location.

Groundhogs are primarily herbivores as their diet consists mainly of plants.

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What Do Groundhogs Like To Eat Most?

Woodchucks eat a wide variety of plants, greens, and vegetables. Did you know that they also eat flowers? Here’s a breakdown of what our cute friends love to eat.

  • Plants- Alfalfa, clovers, dandelions, maple leaves, daisies, grass, flowers, chicken weed, sorrel (leafy green vegetable) are some plants groundhogs cherish. A garden full of plants is a paradise for groundhogs. Ferns are another plant they like to eat.
  • In spring and summer, plants are plentiful for groundhogs to eat. As they emerge months later from their burrows after hibernation, they are always eager to get back to their eating hobby.
  • Alfalfa is available in late summer and provides groundhogs with a dense meal to eat.
  • Groundhogs live in open fields, fence rows, or tree bases to ensure they get unlimited access to plants, greens, and fruits.
  • Cultivated crops- They love to eat soybeans, plantain, broccoli, celery, squash, corn, peas, carrots, cabbage, and lettuce.
  • If you want a groundhog as your furry neighbor, grow the previously mentioned crops. How do you expect them to resist fresh lettuce from your garden?
  • Fruits- Up up and away! Groundhogs can go as far as climb trees to eat fruits like red berries, blackberries, apples, cherries, mulberries, hackberries, and pears.
  • Flowering plants- Marigold, snapdragons, sunflowers, and asters (flowers ranging from white to blue to purple) are not spared by groundhogs. No, male groundhogs won’t use these flowers to propose to their female counterparts; instead, they will chow them down.
  • Nuts- Shagbark, hickory, acorns (nut of oaks and contains seeds).
  • In fall, groundhogs also eat roots, leaves, barks, and twigs of trees as plants become scarce though they prefer plants and vegetables.

Woodchucks occasionally eat meat in the form of birds’ eggs, grubs, grasshoppers, crickets, june bugs, and larvae (immature form of insect) that they come across. Insects provide groundhogs with a good source of protein.

Are you a morning person? Well, groundhogs are. They forage for food in the morning up until early evening. To keep up their body weight, they barely move in hibernation.

Foods To Avoid When Feeding Groundhogs

7 Things Groundhogs Like To Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips) (2)

There are certain scents and flavors in foods that groundhogs hate—these range from herbs and spices to flowers with powerful fragrances. Some items on the below list will surprise you.

  • Groundhogs dislike the smell of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint, basil, sage, and chives, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. However, these herbs and spices are very healthy for humans.
  • As much as groundhogs love to feast on flowers, there are certain flowers you wouldn’t find them munching on. Lily of the valley, lavender, hellebores, and yarrow are a few of these.
  • These flowers have strong smells and are toxic to groundhogs. Hellebores have tough leaves, making them unpalatable for groundhogs.
  • Lily–of–the–valley is toxic to animals, including groundhogs.
  • If you have planted lavender in your garden, this flower will indeed thrive. Lavender has such a strong scent that it repels groundhogs. We, humans, love the smell.
  • Sweet alyssum is a white aromatic flower that groundhogs also dislike.
  • Garlic- Groundhogs loathe the pungent smell of garlic, according to Farmers’ Almanac. If you grow garlic in your garden, rest assured these pesky rodents will keep their distance and not eat them.
  • Black pepper and cayenne pepper- Again, groundhogs generally dislike these spices due to their smell. These spices can also be used to drive them away from your garden when applied to their burrows.

Groundhogs tend to stay away from the above, but eating these foods becomes a likely possibility if they are starving.

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Tips For Feeding Groundhogs

Groundhogs are creatures that can fend for themselves and look for food in warmer months. However, you may come across an orphaned baby groundhog that needs your help. Where would you even begin? Here are tips to take care of a pet baby groundhog.

  • First and foremost, you must keep the baby groundhog warm.
  • It would be better to wear gardening gloves as you need to avoid picking them up with bare hands.
  • Offer them Pedialyte (a dehydrating solution) as they may suffer from dehydration. Ensure you have warmed the solution to body temperature.
  • Esbilac powder- a puppy milk replacer is safe to give a baby groundhog.
  • You can purchase esbilac from a pet store.
  • Please refrain from giving baby woodchuck baby formula, and cow’s milk as these could cause death.
  • It would be best to use an oral syringe instead of a bottle to feed the baby groundhog to prevent it from over-feeding.
  • Cover its eyes and hold the groundhog in a towel after warming the formula.
  • Ensure the baby groundhog doesn’t suck the formula too quickly by feeding it slowly. If it sucks the formula speedily and starts sneezing, turn upside down, and rub its back. Clean its nose afterward.
  • Repeat this for about five minutes until its breathing goes back to normal.
  • Clean the groundhog’s face once done with feeding by using a wet cloth because if the formula dries on its face, it will suffer a loss of fur.
  • Baby woodchucks need to be stimulated to urinate before and after feeding.
  • You can help a woodchuck to urinate using a Q-tip dipped in warm water. Lightly stroke above the genital area as this will cause the woodchuck to urinate. The woodchuck’s bladder can rupture if not stimulated.
  • At about four weeks, start to introduce solids to the baby groundhog. You can start by feeding it a banana or an apple. As time passes, include vegetables and greens in its diet.

According to Pet Care Tips, follow the above steps to ensure a baby groundhog’s survival until the time comes when you can release it into the wild. If you feel overwhelmed and unable to care for a baby groundhog, you can contact the necessary pet care officials and ask for assistance.

FAQS (Frequently asked questions)

How can you get rid of groundhogs?

You can use human hair clippings as groundhogs don’t like the smell of humans. Groundhogs also dislike the smell of castor oil, which you can pour on the openings of the burrows when the groundhog is away.

Can groundhogs get into houses?

A groundhog can create a tunnel beneath your house, causing damage and loosening the ground upon which your home is built.

How can you distinguish between a male and a female groundhog?

Males are slightly larger than females in size.

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Can groundhogs attack humans?

Groundhogs look like small bears while standing on their hind legs. As they are large, humans can fear them, but they rarely attack humans unless they feel threatened.

Summary

Groundhogs spend their lives eating and sleeping. They may be quite a nuisance due to their destructive eating habits, but you can’t deny their fantastic ability to hibernate for many months. These creatures love their freedom, and if you happen to come across one, don’t be scared.

FAQs

What is the diet of groundhogs? ›

Primarily herbivores, groundhogs eat a variety of plants, including from people's gardens. But they also may eat things we consider pests, such as grubs, other insects, and snails. They are even reported to eat other small animals such as baby birds.

What do groundhogs love the most? ›

Favorite foods include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lettuce, broccoli, plantain, and soybeans. Groundhogs will often devour your seedlings before they even have time to grow. Rabbits and deer eat some of the same plants, so make sure to check for burrows before concluding that you have groundhogs.

What kind of fruit do groundhogs eat? ›

Trees (specifically bark and twigs) like black cherry and dogwood. Vegetation like carrots, celery, corn, peas, and beans. Fruits like berries, cherries and apples.

What can I feed a wild groundhog? ›

Plants- Alfalfa, clovers, dandelions, maple leaves, daisies, grass, flowers, chicken weed, sorrel (leafy green vegetable) are some plants groundhogs cherish. A garden full of plants is a paradise for groundhogs. Ferns are another plant they like to eat. In spring and summer, plants are plentiful for groundhogs to eat.

What do groundhogs hate the most? ›

Groundhogs hate the smell of garlic and pepper. To deter them from ever returning to your garden, crush some garlic and pepper and throw it into their burrows. Do this day after day until they flee. You can also make a garlic and pepper spray to spray your vegetables.

What dont groundhogs like? ›

Groundhogs dislike the smell of herbs such as mint, sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, chives, and oregano. Planting these around the border of the yard or in places you'd like to protect (such as a vegetable garden) may keep groundhogs from wandering in.

Are groundhogs smart? ›

Groundhogs are an extremely intelligent animal forming complex social networks, able to understand social behavior, form kinship with their young, understand and communicate threats through whistling, and work cooperatively to solve tasks such as burrowing.

Do groundhogs like bread? ›

Do Groundhogs Eat Bread? Yes, groundhogs will eat bread if they find it lying around, in your garbage can or if offered to them by humans. They are used to eating grasses and grains in the wild, so the bread will not taste too alien to them. All baked goods like bread, cake, and crackers are appealing to groundhogs!

Are groundhogs friendly? ›

Not usually, they typically avoid people and will run away if a person approaches. Groundhogs are not dangerous; they rarely interact with humans so there are few reported conflicts. If you came across a groundhog they would most likely run away.

Do groundhogs like banana peels? ›

Do Groundhogs Eat Bananas? Yes, they love bananas!

Do groundhogs bite? ›

Are groundhogs aggressive? These animals are not usually aggressive towards dogs or humans, but will bite in retaliation if threatened. If one happens to bite you, the injury will most likely be non-threatening. However, you may want to seek immediate medical attention to avoid potential complications caused by rabies.

Do groundhogs like fruit? ›

Most Common Groundhog Meals

Primarily, groundhogs eat grasses, clover, alfalfa, and dandelions. In addition, groundhogs like to eat garden fruits and vegetables like berries, apples, lettuce, corn, and carrots.

What is a woodchucks favorite food? ›

Food & Diet

Mainly vegetarians, woodchucks feed on a variety of grasses and chickweeds, clover, plantains, and many varieties of wild and cultivated flowers. They eat blackberries, raspberries, cherries, and other fruits, along with the bark of hickory and maple trees.

Do groundhogs like peanut butter? ›

Place your trap near the burrow or area that the groundhog frequently visits. Then bait the trap, many people have had great success using sunflower seeds, peanut butter and corn, however cantaloupe is often the preferred bait.

What vegetable do groundhogs not like? ›

Catmint (Nepeta catarina) Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) Geranium, Citronella (Pelargonium citro- sum) Lavender (Lavandula sp.) Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) Thyme (Thymus sp.) Wormwood (Artemisia sp.)

Can a groundhog hurt a dog? ›

For some homeowners, having a groundhog on the property is too big a risk. They can wound your pet and also do damage to your property by unsettling foundations and chewing wiring under buildings.

What kills a groundhog? ›

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

What sounds are groundhogs afraid of? ›

Ultrasonic noise and vibrations can scare away groundhogs, moles, and other digging pests.

Do groundhogs eat onions? ›

Groundhogs (also known as woodchucks or Marmota monax) are herbivores; however, their omnivorous diet includes plant matter (grass, fruits, vegetables, roots, bark), small mammals (baby birds and mice), and insects (grasshoppers). They eat the bulbs of onions as they contain some carbohydrates.

Do groundhogs eat snakes? ›

No, groundhogs do not traditionally eat snakes.

Do groundhogs eat potatoes? ›

Yes, groundhogs eat potatoes. They will dig up the potatoes in your garden and take them back to their burrow to eat. They do, however, not enjoy eating the potatoes plant as it is of the toxic nightshade family.

How can you tell if a groundhog is a boy or girl? ›

Their feet and tail are dark brown or black, and they have white fur around the nose. There is no color difference between males and females, but males are on average 8% heavier than females.

Do groundhogs carry diseases? ›

Groundhogs are known carriers of the rabies virus. If bitten by one, it's important to immediately seek medical attention and be treated with the rabies vaccine. Tularemia: Groundhogs also carry tularemia, which is transmitted to them by insects.

How many years do groundhogs live? ›

Lifespan: In the wild, groundhogs can live up to six years with two or three being average. In captivity, groundhogs reportedly live up to 14 years. Breeding: Groundhogs tend to be solitary except in the spring when a litter of four to six young are born. Litters of one to nine have been recorded.

Do groundhogs eat baby rabbits? ›

Groundhogs do not usually eat rabbits. While not strict herbivores, most of the groundhog's diet is made up of plants. Occasionally, they will eat insects and some small mammals. So, a baby rabbit may be eaten by a groundhog.

Do groundhogs like water? ›

Groundhogs do not drink water. They stay hydrated by eating food plants wet from rain or dew. Groundhogs prefer hiding in burrows, but are accomplished swimmers and tree climbers when necessary.

What do groundhogs eat in the winter? ›

Groundhogs don't eat during hibernation. They use fat that they built up over the summer and winter month.

Do groundhogs chase people? ›

Are Groundhogs Aggressive To Humans? It is very rare for groundhogs to attack humans. However, when they feel threatened or when they feel that their babies are in danger, they may attack.

Can groundhogs swim? ›

Groundhogs can swim in order to evade predators or survey their territory for potential food sources. Their net legs make it easy to swim, and the paddles allow you to sail the water.

What should I do if a groundhog bites my dog? ›

If bitten by a groundhog, gently wash and disinfect the bite site. After wrapping the bite, seek medical attention. It's impossible to know for sure whether a woodchuck has rabies just by looking at it. Therefore, it's very important to get vaccinated after any groundhog bite.

Are bananas good for groundhogs? ›

By the time they leave their mothers, they can eat the same foods as adult groundhogs. Captive baby groundhogs typically live on a diet of ebsilac powder until their old enough to tolerate other foods. From there, common foods include mashed fruits like bananas or apples, as well as fresh greens.

What does groundhog poop look like? ›

Similar to other rodents, groundhogs have medium-sized, oval-shaped droppings which are usually dark brown or black in color.

How do you smoke a groundhog? ›

Place the groundhog directly on the smoker grate at a relatively low temperature. On the Humphrey's, we set it at 225 degrees, and allow it to slowly smoke for two to three hours, depending on the size of the groundhog. You are watching for an internal temperature of around 165 degrees in the thickest part of the ham.

Do groundhogs bite cats? ›

Groundhogs. If your cat has access to grounds where a forest and a field meet, there's a higher change they'll encounter a groundhog. While these animals aren't likely to go out of their way to attack a cat, their sharp teeth and claws can do damage.

Do groundhogs fight? ›

Groundhogs are very territorial and don't like other groundhogs getting too close so they will fight for territory, resources, or mating rights. You can tell if two groundhogs are fighting because they will make a show out of it.

Will a woodchuck bite you? ›

Woodchucks have the ability to bite and scratch if they are cornered or threatened. They are generally docile creatures and rarely, if ever, bite.

Do groundhogs like cucumbers? ›

Their favorite foods include young, tender greens like lettuce and cabbage, as well as cantaloupes, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, and corn.

Do groundhogs eat eggs? ›

Groundhogs are not known to eat chicken eggs, although they will eat small birds eggs, snails, and bugs on occasion. Primarily groundhogs are herbivores that eat plants like nuts, furs, grosses, flowers, fruits, and grains when available.

How much do groundhogs sleep? ›

How long do groundhogs sleep normally? Groundhogs are not only nocturnal, but as a hibernating species they will sleep for weeks on end. However, when they are not hibernating, they still aren't the most active of animals. Even during the summer months, they can sleep between 16 to 20 hours per day.

Do groundhogs eat tomatoes? ›

The short answer is yes, groundhogs do eat tomatoes. However, they also eat other fruits and vegetables, as well as insects. However, groundhogs are generally herbivores, which means that they mostly eat plants. In short, groundhogs will eat tomatoes, even unripe ones if available.

Do groundhogs eat fish? ›

What Are Groundhog's Preferred Food? Groundhogs are herbivores whose diets mainly consist of grasses, beans, sprouts, and vegetables. As a herbivore, their diet is centered mainly around vegetables. However, the groundhog will occasionally eat various insects such as grasshoppers, snails, and grubs.

Will groundhogs eat watermelon? ›

They like almost all vegetables in your vegetable garden and many herbs, too. Groundhogs eat all parts of plants. In addition to vegetables, they also like fruits, including apples and pears, Watermelons are a favorite meal. They will also eat nuts.

Will groundhogs eat marshmallows? ›

All that will happen is you will have groundhogs with sweet tooths. Marshmallows are almost pure sugar, groundhogs can digest sugar or they couldn't eat fruit.

What time of day are groundhogs most active? ›

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.

Do groundhogs eat roses? ›

Groundhogs eat many types of flowers. They eat some common backyard flowers such as marigolds, daylilies, roses, and zinnias. They also eat less common flowers like impatiens and petunias.

What kind of flowers do groundhogs hate? ›

Unfortunately, the vivid, pleasantly scented blooms tend to draw the attention of groundhogs and other wildlife. Though each creature tends to be put off by different plants, including snapdragons, wax begonias, annual poppies, garden pinks, and floss flowers in the garden's design will help to deter most animal pests.

Do groundhogs eat mice? ›

Do Groundhogs Eat Mice and Rats? No, Groundhogs are not known to eat adult mice or rats, but they may eat younger mice or weaker ones that cannot run away if the groundhog is given the chance.

Do groundhogs eat pumpkin? ›

A variety of creatures eat pumpkins – including ants, fruit flies, squash bugs, groundhogs, and other rodents. Some will consider your pumpkins tasty treats as soon as you put them out as decorations.

Are groundhogs herbivores or omnivores? ›

Are groundhogs friendly to humans? ›

Not usually, they typically avoid people and will run away if a person approaches. Groundhogs are not dangerous; they rarely interact with humans so there are few reported conflicts. If you came across a groundhog they would most likely run away.

Do groundhogs eat snakes? ›

No, groundhogs do not traditionally eat snakes.

How much does a groundhog eat in a day? ›

Size of a Groundhog

On an average, groundhogs eat one-third of their body weight every day, feeding on any plant matter that they come across. While that has earned them the ire of farmers and gardeners alike, it is this very feeding habit that comes to their rescue when they hibernate during the cold months.

Do groundhogs like water? ›

Groundhogs do not drink water. They stay hydrated by eating food plants wet from rain or dew. Groundhogs prefer hiding in burrows, but are accomplished swimmers and tree climbers when necessary.

Do groundhogs bite? ›

Are groundhogs aggressive? These animals are not usually aggressive towards dogs or humans, but will bite in retaliation if threatened. If one happens to bite you, the injury will most likely be non-threatening. However, you may want to seek immediate medical attention to avoid potential complications caused by rabies.

Are groundhogs smart? ›

Groundhogs are an extremely intelligent animal forming complex social networks, able to understand social behavior, form kinship with their young, understand and communicate threats through whistling, and work cooperatively to solve tasks such as burrowing.

Can groundhogs swim? ›

Groundhogs can swim in order to evade predators or survey their territory for potential food sources. Their net legs make it easy to swim, and the paddles allow you to sail the water.

Do groundhogs eat bread? ›

Do Groundhogs Eat Bread? Yes, groundhogs will eat bread if they find it lying around, in your garbage can or if offered to them by humans. They are used to eating grasses and grains in the wild, so the bread will not taste too alien to them. All baked goods like bread, cake, and crackers are appealing to groundhogs!

Do groundhogs fight? ›

Groundhogs are very territorial and don't like other groundhogs getting too close so they will fight for territory, resources, or mating rights. You can tell if two groundhogs are fighting because they will make a show out of it.

Do groundhogs fight dogs? ›

In the open, they are still likely to run, but if the dog is fast enough they may be forced to make a stand. Up close, they are an entirely different animal and will stand their ground and fight and would behave similarly to what they do in a trap, except that there is no trap wall between the groundhog and your dog.

Do groundhogs bite dogs? ›

“Groundhogs do have large incisors like rodents do, so your dog stands a chance of being bitten.

Do groundhogs like peanut butter? ›

Place your trap near the burrow or area that the groundhog frequently visits. Then bait the trap, many people have had great success using sunflower seeds, peanut butter and corn, however cantaloupe is often the preferred bait.

Do groundhogs attract snakes? ›

Some of these are smaller creatures—such as chipmunks, shrews and voles—but they also attract larger predators like otters, weasels and snakes. Even foxes and coyotes will use a groundhog den.

How long does a groundhog live? ›

Geography: Groundhogs are found from the eastern and central United States northward across Canada and into Alaska. Lifespan: In the wild, groundhogs can live up to six years with two or three being average. In captivity, groundhogs reportedly live up to 14 years.

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