How to Evict a Groundhog
Some people are happy to tolerate groundhogs. They’re kind of cute, fun to watch and generally nonthreatening --as long as you’re not confronted by a mother with a half-dozen babies. But on the other side of the equation, a groundhog can easily become a pest or worse, a danger to your property.
For example, if you have a long-time resident under your home, shed or porch, it may have established a network of tunnels, destabilizing the ground under the building or around the foundation and literally undermining its stability. Or, it may have become proprietary about your garden, feasting at will to build up the fat that will sustain it during its winter hibernation.
If you’ve decided that the groundhog must go, there are several measures you can take to make it happen. But first, you must find out what is legal in your state. In the countryside, for example, it is usually permissible for a property owner to kill the animals. In a suburban or urban environment, it is usually forbidden. There are three alternatives that usually can be applied wherever you live.
One of the most obvious but also the most time-consuming, is harassment. Assuming you have access to the burrow entrance, you simply keep filling and refilling the hole until the animal tires of reopening it, gives up and moves on.
Another is the one-way door. For this to work, you must assure that the animal doesn’t have alternative ways to enter and leave. If the opening is in the foundation, first survey the site and close off all but the main portal. Install a one-way door so that when the animal goes out, it is unable to reenter. Try to ascertain if there could be a litter of young inside and if you believe there are, delay your plan for a few weeks. You’ll see them when they follow the mother out to feed.
Finally, there is trap and relocate – similar to exclusion, but going a step farther. For this, you will place a cage trap over the sole means of coming and going. One end of the cage will be closed, the other a spring-loaded trap door. To entice the animal to enter and spring the trap, bait it with fruits or vegetables, leaving a trail of bait leading to the trap.
It may take several days. Once you’ve got her, carefully observe for signs of nursing. If clear, take her to the woods and let her go. If not, allow her a few weeks to bring up her babies and then send them all on their way.
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