Groundhogs/Whistle pigs are interesting creatures that have become a staple of American society. The groundhog has starred in a handful of movies and it can help predict the severity of the winter.
Nevertheless, a lot of people are not fully familiar with groundhogs, their habitats, or their diets. Most only know a little about Phil the groundhog since he predicts the weather every February 2nd. So, what do groundhogs eat?
Groundhogs will eat bugs and grubs but their favorite foods include clovers, alfalfa, dandelions, lettuce, corn, and garden fruits. Since these foods are readily available during the summer, this is what they’ll eat most often.
In other words, a groundhog’s diet is going to change depending on the season.
Spring, Summer, & Fall
This animal is a herbivore meaning it primarily eats plants. During the spring and summer seasons, groundhogs will have an abundance of plants to enjoy.
They won’t have to worry about scavenging to survive. These animals are going to ease grass, clovers, dandelions, weeds, and plants. Furthermore, they’re going to become a nuisance for any farmer or gardener because they love munching on agricultural crops.
They’ll eat almost anything a farmer grows including lettuce, carrots, and raspberries.
During the spring and fall seasons, groundhogs tend to eat around mid-afternoon. They’ll be able to find the same foods as mentioned above. In Fall, groundhogs are going to work diligently to ensure that they eat enough food to sustain them through the winter.
This is pertinent since groundhogs change their behavior when winter rolls around. More about this will be provided below.
What Do Groundhogs Eat During Winter
Groundhogs are like many other animals that prefer hibernating during the cold winter months. Throughout the year, groundhogs are going to build fat reserves so they’ll be able to survive during the winter.
This ensures that they can sustain a healthy weight during the hibernation period which lasts from October to February. Groundhogs hibernate underground in burrows and stay out of view.
By the time February comes, these animals will have lost nearly half of their body weight so they’ll be ready to eat again. If you’re a professional farmer or hobbyist, you’ll need to be ready for groundhogs to emerge in February.
They’ll have a ferocious appetite and will eat anything they can get.
[Related Article: Do Groundhogs Hibernate]
Plants They Won’t Eat
While groundhogs aren’t picky eaters, there are certain plants that they cannot or won’t eat. The plants mentioned in this section are the ones that groundhogs will be much less likely to consume.
They include blanket flowers, daffodils, foxgloves, irises, peonies, baby’s breaths, and butterfly weeds. They’ve also been known to avoid Christmas ferns, monkshoods, wild gingers, sundrops, and fountain grasses.
Furthermore, it may be possible to deter groundhogs by using certain plants. For instance, you should dry planting snapdragons, annual poppies, floss flowers, and wax begonias in your garden. With a little luck, the groundhog will not be willing to cross these plants.
[Related Article: What Eats Groundhogs]
Other Ways To Get Rid Of Groundhogs
Groundhogs look cute but they can turn your garden into a mess. You’ll want to do your best to keep them away. As soon as February arrives, you need to make sure that you’ve taken steps to protect your garden.
First, you’ll want to find out why groundhogs would come to your yard. What is attracting them? If you’re not a gardener, you should get rid of whatever is attracting the pest. In addition to this, you should think about using Epsom salt, castor oil, human hair clippings, soiled kitty litter, and bad scents.
Remember that you can get rid of groundhogs without harming them. The best solution is cutting off their food source. Make sure they do not have access to fruits and vegetables.
[Related Article: How To Plug Groundhog Holes?]
What Can You Feed Groundhogs
If you’re going on vacation and intend to visit a state park, you may encounter groundhogs. You might be able to throw them a piece of food. However, you should know that groundhogs tend to be scared of humans.
So, they’re likely going to run away after noticing your scent. Nevertheless, you can feed groundhogs a variety of items including fruits, vegetables, trees, and greens. Choose the right foods and the groundhog may return again and again.
So, what are some of the best foods to feed to groundhogs? Well, you’ll want to try items such as berries, cherries, apples, carrots, celery, corn, peas, and beans. They’ll also consume black cherry and dogwood bark and twigs.
You can convince them to eat lettuce, clovers, hackberry leaves, and daisies. Also, groundhogs may eat insects from time to time. When doing so, they prefer bugs, snails, grasshoppers, and similar insects.
Plants That They Try To Avoid
Groundhogs are going to eat a variety of plants but they’ll stay away from a few. This includes Ageratum. This beautiful, blue flower looks great and it’ll keep groundhogs at bay. Bleeding heart flowers are beautiful as well.
Groundhogs do not like this perennial. As for foxgloves, they may attract other animals, but groundhogs do not like them. Furthermore, they’re available in various colors. The only downside is that the foxglove is dangerous because it is poisonous.
Groundhogs are interesting. One thing to remember is that they’re going to hibernate during the winter. Until that happens, they’ll work diligently to eat as much as possible. This ensures that they’re able to prepare for the upcoming hibernation period.
During hibernation, groundhogs will lose half of their body weight so they’re going to be very hungry come February. Around this time, they’ll emerge and begin hunting for fruits, vegetables, and everything else they can eat.