As a human garden owner, I have always been fascinated by the behavior of animals that frequent my backyard.
Some animals fight each other, while others live peacefully together. But what about groundhogs and other rodents like squirrels? Do they hurt each other?
No, groundhogs do not eat squirrels. Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are primarily herbivores and their diet consists of plants, grasses, and occasionally insects. They do not typically prey on other animals like squirrels.
I have observed them munching on various plants, but I have also wondered if they eat other animals, such as squirrels.
Groundhogs are peaceful but…
Groundhogs are primarily herbivorous animals that feed on a variety of plants, such as clover, grasses, and leaves.
However, they are opportunistic eaters and will occasionally consume insects, snails, and small animals like mice and voles.
So, the answer to whether groundhogs eat squirrels is nuanced. While it is not a part of their typical diet, they might eat squirrels if given the chance.
How and Why Groundhogs Eat
They tend to eat during the early morning and late afternoon hours and can consume up to a pound of food per day.
Their teeth are constantly growing, so they must gnaw on hard objects such as twigs and branches to keep them in check.
Groundhogs are burrowing animals that are more active during the spring and summer months.
They will emerge from their burrows to forage for food and will store it in their underground dens for the winter.
They have strong jaws and teeth that allow them to chew through tough plant material easily.
Implications for Backyard Owners
While groundhogs may not pose a direct threat to humans, they can cause significant damage to gardens and landscaping.
They have been known to eat entire rows of plants and can dig extensive burrows that can damage the foundation of buildings.
If you are a backyard owner, it is essential to take precautions to deter groundhogs from taking up residence in your yard.
Other Animals That Might Eat the Food
Other animals that might eat the same food as groundhogs include rabbits, deer, and squirrels.
These animals are also herbivores that feed on a variety of plants and can cause damage to gardens and landscaping.
It is essential to identify the specific animal causing damage before taking any action to deter it.
How To Keep Groundhogs Out Of Your Yard!
There are several things that can be done to prevent groundhogs from digging and eating stuff in your backyard. I will list some of the strategies below.
Also, see my recent post if you want a full list of my favorite methods to keep groundhogs and gophers away!
1. Using ultrasonic sound
Groundhogs, like other bigger mammals that may invade your garden, tend to have very good hearing. This means that loud or consistent noises will scare them away or at least shorten their visits.
Check out my full buying guide for these ingenious ultrasonic repeller devices here!
One of my favorite technologies to keep pests away from my backyard is these cool solar-powered ultrasonic sound emitters that you can buy right from Amazon! In my experience, they really work, and the solar panels on top save you the time and money of changing batteries all the time.
They will also work against other rodents like gophers, mice, and rats!
2. Sprinkling natural repellents
Groundhogs may be scared off by using natural scents such as coyote urine or predator scents.
They may also cause them to leave if there is a combination of sounds being played from a radio. The sounds include the sound of barking dogs and coyotes.
You can sprinkle dog hair, cayenne pepper or strong enteric oils and other natural repellents around the garden to keep the groundhogs away.
See my complete list of humane ways to keep groundhogs away from your yard for more tips and tricks!
3. Fencing around the garden
You can also fence around your garden to keep groundhogs from entering the garden. It should be at least 3 feet deep and have a double row of fencing.
Groundhogs are good diggers so it has to go underground or they may find a way into the garden even with the fences in place!
4. Using live traps
You can use a live trap to capture groundhogs and move them to another area. Live trapping is currently the most humane way of groundhog control. Once you have removed all groundhogs from an area, it is important to ensure that they do not come back by using fencing or other barriers to block access.
You can also just buy a live trap, as the sturdy metal ones shown here:
To lure the groundhogs in, you can use one of the numerous favorite foods of groundhogs or an optimized extra attractive formula like this one to make the catch even quicker!
5. Using natural pesticides
There are pesticides or rodent toxins that can be used to kill groundhogs on your property. These may also affect other animals in the area so it is important to ensure that they are only sprayed on the targeted plants.
I do not recommend these, as I prefer more humane ways as described here. Also, anything that kills an animal will also harm humans to some degree, so go for a repellant rather than a toxin if you go the chemical route!
6. Using Scarecrows
You can use a scarecrow in your garden to keep groundhogs away. Groundhogs are afraid of novelty so time-sensitive or motion-activated scarecrows may also be effective in keeping them out of the garden.
7. Using Lights
Groundhogs are not strictly nocturnal animals but they are most active at low light so they do avoid areas with bright lights.
Motion-activated lights, sounds, and sprinklers may help prevent groundhogs from entering your yard.
Any blinking light will confuse and scare away groundhogs from your yard, especially if they are motion activated and sudden!
8. Motion-activated sprinklers
Like most animals, groundhogs hate surprises, and they will run away if suddenly sprayed with water. I like this solution because it is humane, simple, effective, and does not require much time to set up.
The Havahart 5277 is a motion-activated sprinkler that is activated by the movement of animals up to 25 feet away and sprays them with a harmless water jet, frightening them off and keeping them at bay.
The included metal stake makes it easy to install in your garden, and the sprinkler can be rotated 180 degrees for maximum coverage.
Check out my recent post on the best humane, but effective, tactics against rodents like groundhogs and gophers in your yard!
In conclusion, while groundhogs are primarily herbivorous animals, they are opportunistic eaters that might consume small animals like squirrels if given the chance. As a backyard owner, it is important to take precautions to prevent groundhogs from causing damage to your yard.
It is also important to identify other animals that might be causing damage to your garden and landscaping.