Some gardeners might consider groundhogs pests—they enjoy a good salad as much as we do and will happily make a buffet of your vegetable garden! Yet these nearsighted mammals play an essential role in the ecosystem by providing food for larger predators. Their burrows also offer shelter to foxes, reptiles, amphibians and others.
From late fall through early spring, groundhogs hibernate in their burrows. That’s why it’s never a good idea to close off a burrow until you know for sure that nobody’s home.
Is that little guy a groundhog or a woodchuck? Yes! There’s no difference; both names refer to the same animal, as does “whistle pig,” an older term that nods to the animal’s distinctive alarm call.
Every day, more and more wildlife habitats are lost to the spread of development. Your gift can help create more humane backyards to protect all animals.