Will Repellents Get a Groundhog out?
Will repellents get a groundhog out from under a shed or porch? According to experts, the short answer is maybe, but probably not. What repellents will do is make the animal uncomfortable and it will often simply distance itself from the irritant while eventually becoming accustomed to it.
Some repellent strategies address the problem by suggesting an actual physical threat. Among these is the dispersal of predator scent – usually based on fox or coyote urine -- definitely making the pests uncomfortable if not actually scaring them away. Ammonia soaked rags can serve the same purpose and in the same way. Used cat litter, preferably well-saturated with urine and placed about the burrow entrance, similarly has been shown to be an effective repellent as has a sprinkling of blood meal around the burrow entrance and in foraging areas. Mothballs are sometimes felt to be effective, since they give off a strong, noxious odor.
Ideally, if the perceived threat or physical discomfort persists, the groundhog may opt for new territory that it finds more hospitable. But unfortunately, the animals often learn to mask the smells of the various deterrents, and thus their effect, by simply kicking dirt over them. Further complicating the issue is the ability of groundhogs to solve their problem through an underground strategy – that is, if an existing burrow entrance is made untenable, the animals can go below and tunnel themselves a new outlet.
Mother groundhogs especially can become very strongly attached to their burrows – sometimes actually taking up permanent residence --and thus are willing to tolerate the discomfort caused by repellents until there effect dissipates. In such cases the property owner has only a couple of options: continue putting up with the animals or take measures for their physical removal.
In short, conventional do-it-yourself eviction strategies using repellents are often futile and the best recourse is usually exclusion and/or humane trapping. If you choose trapping as your option, you may be able to rent the necessary equipment from a local humane society or wildlife rehab center. But if you’re successful in trapping the invader you’ll also be responsible for assuring that no babies are left in the burrow to perish as well as how and where to relocate the animals.
You might be best advised to call in a professional animal control expert. He or she will have the knowledge to address the problem in a humane way and to provide the right remedy.
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