Groundhog Investigations

By | June 27, 2017

Is There a Groundhog Problem?

If it looks like groundhog hole, does that mean there is a groundhog living in it?

And because there’s what looks like a groundhog hole, do I, therefore, need to have a trapping company out to investigate?

The answer to both these questions is, “No”.

This post is for anyone who has found digging and what looks like an animal burrow and is wondering what to do next.  We’ll present some pictures and commentary from a possible groundhog problem to explain our position.

Some Animal Investigation Techniques

The first step for anyone with a suspected animal issue is investigation: making sure you really have a problem.

Brian fields calls all the time from people who believe they may have an animal issue. After a short discussion with some perspective clients, Brian often tries to convince them that our services are not the proper step at this time.

We obviously want business, but we also know that when clients are charged and no animals are removed neither party is usually satisfied.

While many people don’t feel confident in their own investigation, there are some things most people can .

Don’t believe it?  Let’s do a trail investigation today.  We’ll call it, “How Do I Know if There’s a Groundhog Living in That Hole”.

Here’s the background information.

groundhog diggingOne day you notice that there is a fresh excavation next to your concrete front steps.  At the base of the steps, on the right side, there is an opening which goes under the steps.  You only recently noticed the moved dirt but can clearly see the hole.  You’ve not seen a groundhog (or other animal).

The green arrow points to the area in question.

barberton groundhog diggingHere’s a closer look at the area.

You can hopefully see the dirt piled to the right of the steps.

Not shown to the left is the set of concrete steps with the hole under it.

Is now the time to call a nuisance animal removal company?  No.  Why?  Because we’re not sure an animal is actually living there.  We can assume that an animal (probably a groundhog) made the mess.  But if it didn’t move in, there’s no problem

So, what are some ways you can think of to see if this digging is an active hole?  Did a groundhog (or other animal) move in here?

Here are some probable answers we hope you came up with:

  • Fill in the hole and see if it anything happens
  • Block the hole with something movable
  • Mount a game camera (if you have one)
  • Sit out on the porch in the evenings and see if you notice an animal

What we’re looking for is a pattern of use.  Animals are hard to predict at times.  Paying attention to a problem area over a period of time gives you the best idea of what is going on.  Because you live there, you are in a great position to get a daily update on what’s going on.

Let’s say you chose to block the hole off with something movable and see what happens. What would you use?

groundhog blockThere is no one right answer for sure.  Here, you can hopefully see that we chose to wad up some newspapers and stuff them across the opening.

newspaper hole observationWhy newspapers?  They were close at hand, no rain was forecast, they blocked the entire hole, and they were easily movable.


If an animal were coming and going from this hole, it could easily push or pull the newspaper out of the way and indicate it presence.

Again, if the newspapers were moved, we’d even recommend repeating the process a number of times.  Why?  Because we are looking to establish a definite pattern before calling it a problem and calling the animal removers.

By now you’re probably just wondering if the newspaper were moved.

Well, they were not.  One day, two days, a whole week (still no rain) went by and there was no movement in or out.

Groundhog repairThe dirt was was back filled and made smooth.  No problems right now.

This does’t mean a groundhog won’t be back someday.  But, it does mean there isn’t a trap sitting there not catching anything.

Young Groundhogs on The Move

What probably was going on in this case was an exploratory digging by a young groundhog.

Right about now, many young groundhogs born this year are getting ready to disperse. They are looking for a territory and a nice den of their own: a nice cozy spot is what’s going to get them through the winter.

We assume a groundhog did dig under the steps but, in the end, did not find this set up to its liking.  Why?  That’s a question we can’t answer.  Whatever it was, we only know the groundhog is not living there now.

Be an Investigator

C’mon, you can do it!  Hopefully we’ve shown that there are some really simple techniques you can use today which will help you determine if you really have a nuisance animal problem.

Don’t panic.  Be creative. And let your powers of induction flow.

For more information:

Groundhog Removal Videos