Birthing: 2-5 young in April-June

Eyes opened: 28-32 days

Weaning (beg-end): 5-8 weeks

Active: Daytime, especially morning and evening; hibernate in winter

Diet: Grasses, weeds, garden crops

Identification: The main entrance hole to a den is 10-12″ wide. Groundhogs have several entrances/exits


Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are the largest members of the squirrel family. They spend their days foraging for plants and digging burrows. The burrows help the groundhog evade enemies and predators. Groundhogs hibernate all winter, and emerge from their dens in February. Groundhog incisors grow about a sixteenth of an inch each week, and must be ground down when the animal chews its food.

Groundhogs FAQ’s

A groundhog is eating my garden. How do I stop it?
Locate the groundhog’s burrow. Harassment works best if the groundhog has not been in residence long.
A groundhog is growling at my pet. Why?
This is probably a mother defending her young or an adult defending his hibernation burrow. If the groundhog is acting unusual (circling, etc.) call the Helpline.
I have found a groundhog during the winter. What should I do?

The groundhog has been evicted from his burrow for some reason – rising water levels, construction. Even through Groundhogs might be hibernating and sluggish in the winter, you should not try to pick them up. Please call the Helpline for the professional advice of a rehabilitator or someone with pre-exposure rabies shots.

More about Groundhogs

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The Groundhog, Our Underground Architect

The groundhog is known by several names. The most common one is the woodchuck (Marmota monax). Two long, chisel shaped, ever growing incisors indicate that the groundhog belongs to the rodent family.

If you are not certain what to do, call the wildlife Helpline: 703-440-0800

If you live outside Northern Virginia, please see the Resources Page for assistance.

Wildlife Rescue League - Viriginia
Wildlife Helpline 703-440-0800