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Groundhogs can grow to 32 inches long and up to 30 lbs. They can live up to six years in the wild, and ten years in captivity.
The groundhog is one of a small number of species that have grown greatly in numbers since the arrival of European settlers in North America, since the clearing of forests provided it with much suitable habitat. It prefers open country and the edges of woodland.
Groundhogs are excellent burrowers, using burrows for sleeping, rearing young, and hibernating. The burrows generally have two exits, and the groundhog rarely ventures far from one of them for safety. While preferring to flee from would-be predators, the groundhog is known to viciously defend its burrow when invaded by predators such as skunks, foxes, weasels or domestic dogs. It can inflict quite a bit of damage with its two large incisors and front claws, especially when the predator is at a disadvantage inside the burrow.
Usually Groundhogs breed in their second year, but a small percentage may breed as yearlings. The breeding season extends from early March to middle or late April, following hibernation. A mated pair will remain in the same den throughout the 28-32 day gestation period. As birth of the young approaches in April or May, the male will leave the den. One litter is produced annually, usually containing 2-6 blind, naked and helpless young. Young groundhogs are weaned and ready to seek their own dens at five to six weeks of age.