What Do Groundhogs Eat - Plants & Vegetables

Written by Ivy

Dec 29 2022

What Do Groundhogs Eat - Plants & Vegetables

Ever wonder "What do groundhogs consume?" Control and prevention can be aided by knowing what they consume. Continue reading to discover the typical feeding practices of groundhogs.

Groundhogs rely on fat reserves as true hibernators rather than storing food for the winter. Groundhog diets are typically determined by local vegetation, and the pests are able to quickly adapt to new food sources.

What Are Groundhogs?

You might concur with those who say that gluttonous rodent is their least favorite backyard animal if every day in your garden is Groundhog Day. Even skunks receive more reverence. Learn more about the history of the amusing holiday known as Groundhog Day as well as some of the weather-related folklore.

The problem is that groundhogs—also known as woodchucks or whistle-pigs—are binge eaters who can wipe out your vegetable garden in a matter of minutes. They climb, burrow, swim, and eat—an adult consumes about a pound to a pound and a half of vegetation every day. They increase their body weight by twofold from spring to fall.

What Do Groundhogs Like to Eat?

The majority of the time, groundhogs are herbivorous, which means they eat mainly plant matter, like the majority of other rodents. The majority of the vegetation that groundhogs consume is found in the wild. Nevertheless, they also enjoy eating cultivated crops, which may make farmers and gardeners angry. A groundhog's main food sources are vegetables, grasses, and berries, though they will also consume other items. For instance, they will consume small birds, mollusks, and insects. However, because they only occasionally eat these other foods, they aren't typically regarded as omnivores. Groundhogs consume readily accessible plants from their surroundings. We've narrowed down this lengthy list to the top 10 foods groundhogs enjoy eating. The foods groundhogs like most include:

  • Grasses
  • Vegetables
  • Clover
  • Alfalfa
  • Leaves
  • Berries
  • Grubs
  • Insects
  • Snails
  • Bark

How Do Groundhogs Forage for Food?

To find food and survive in the wild, groundhogs rely on their keen senses. The senses of sight, smell, and hearing are particularly important to groundhogs. Despite this, finding food is not the primary use of hearing. Rather, it is used to identify predators. According to reports, they can actually hear foodprints from more than 500 yards away. Groundhogs have keen eyesight and can detect moving objects at a distance. Groundhogs use their eyes and noses to find food after emerging from their burrows. Because of how perceptive their noses are, they can easily find ripe vegetables. However, because so many people scatter offensive-smelling materials that groundhogs find repulsive, their sensitivity also proves to be their downfall. Groundhogs, on the other hand, rely less on touch and taste to find food.

A groundhog's typical home range is just 2 to 3 acres. Within that range, groundhogs spend the majority of their time either foraging on the surface or burrowing or resting underground. Burrows are often built by groundhogs in places where there is easy access to and an abundance of food. To access the plants on the other side, they frequently dig under fences or other obstacles. However, they typically only come out to forage in the morning or evening. They are most active during the day. Groundhogs may bring extra food to their dens after they have finished foraging. The urge to store food for the winter is what drives their desire to bring food back to their burrows.

What Do Groundhogs Eat in the Wild?

In their home range, groundhogs consume a wide range of plant life. Additionally, if cultivated crops are nearby or the seasons change, their diet may also change. Dandelions, sorrel, clover, and alfalfa are a few of the plants that groundhogs enjoy eating. These leafy greens, which are easily accessible in most environments, make up the majority of a wild groundhog's diet. In addition to grasses, wild groundhogs will consume fruits like berries, apples, pears, and cherries. A groundhog may eat any cultivated vegetables growing nearby if their burrow is close to a garden or farm. They enjoy eating lettuce, corn, carrots, peas, beans, squash, and celery among other vegetables. Snails, grubs, grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects are also consumed by groundhogs. On rare occasions, they will consume young birds, especially if they have fallen from a nearby nest.

What Do Captive Groundhogs Eat?

Because of their aggressive nature, people do occasionally keep groundhogs as pets, but this rarely occurs. Despite this, some groundhogs are raised in captivity for a variety of reasons. A groundhog will consume many of the same foods in captivity as it would in the wild. The majority of its diet will consist of grasses and greens, such as lettuce, alfalfa, clover, sorrel, dandelions, and leaves. Additionally, it will consume vegetables like carrots, celery, peas, beans, and corn. Berry, apple, pear, and cherry are some other fruits they like. They will occasionally consume nuts, though this should only make up a small portion of the diet of a captive groundhog. Insects are similar in that wild groundhogs do not eat them in large quantities. Baby groundhogs kept in captivity need to be fed a warmed infant formula solution, like ebsilac powder. Before giving a groundhog a new food, always seek professional advice.

What Do Baby Groundhogs Eat?

Babies of groundhogs, which are also called pups or kits, are born hairless and blind. They weigh only about 1 ounce and are only about 4 inches long. Baby groundhogs stay with their mother for about two months after birth before venturing out on their own. They only consume breast milk for the first three weeks of their lives. When they are old enough, however, they will also start to eat tender flowers and grasses. They can eat the same foods as adult groundhogs by the time they are ready to leave their mothers. Until they are old enough to tolerate other foods, baby groundhogs kept in captivity usually eat only ebsilac powder. From there, typical foods include freshly chopped greens and mashed fruits like bananas or apples. Make sure to speak with a veterinarian or other local authority before introducing new food to a young groundhog.

Foods to Avoid When Feeding Groundhogs

Groundhogs dislike particular flavors and aromas found in food, including those from herbs, spices, and potently scented flowers. You'll be surprised by a few items on the list below.

  • According to the Farmers' Almanac, groundhogs don't like the scent of herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint, basil, sage, and chives. However, these spices and herbs are very beneficial to humans.
  • Despite how much groundhogs enjoy eating flowers, some flowers are off-limits to them. Among them are yarrow, hellebores, lily of the valley, and lavender.
  • In addition to being toxic to groundhogs, these flowers have potent aromas. Hellebores have tough leaves that groundhogs find unpleasant.
  • Animals, including groundhogs, are poisoned by lily-of-the-valley.
  • Lavender grows well in gardens, so if you've planted any, don't worry. Groundhogs are repelled by lavender due to its potent scent. Humans enjoy smelling things.
  • Groundhogs also don't like the fragrant white flower known as sweet alyssum.
  • Garlic: According to Farmers' Almanac, groundhogs detest the garlic's strong aroma. You can be sure that these bothersome rodents won't eat the garlic in your garden if you grow it there.
  • Again, the smell of black pepper and cayenne pepper tends to turn groundhogs off. Additionally, by applying these spices to their burrows, you can scare them away from your garden.

The aforementioned foods are generally avoided by groundhogs, but if they are starving, they may eat them.

What Do Groundhogs Eat

How to Get Rid of Groundhogs

These animals may have been drawn to your garden's abundance of scrumptious plants. Get them to leave by telling them to.

  • Around the outer edge of your garden, scatter blood meal, black pepper, dried blood, or talcum powder. You might also try using hair clippings.
  • Blend and strain hot peppers and garlic, add water and just enough liquid soap to make it stick, and liberally spray the mixture throughout the garden.
  • Put something safe but offensive-smelling right inside the burrow (like cat litter that has been saturated with urine). The smell will stay inside the burrow if you loosely seal the entrance.
  • Would you eat lettuce that had been combined with bobcat urine? A woodchuck would not either. Some of the intimidating predator scents now offered as groundhog deterrents include fox, coyote, wolf, and bobcat urine.
  • Remove wood piles and other areas where groundhogs may nest.
  • Reduce grass cover and undergrowth to keep groundhogs away.
  • The search for empty burrows is constant for groundhogs. shut down their tunnel networks. Before a forgotten burrow is rediscovered, bury a three-foot square panel of welded wire, centered over the entrance hole.
  • The only option, sadly, might be humane traps and relocation. Place traps in the garden or in front of burrow entrances. To catch them, set the bottom of the trap into the ground and bait it with broccoli, apple slices, fresh lettuce, carrots, or sweet corn. After setting the trap, check it frequently to prevent stress and harm to the trapped animals. To pacify the groundhog, cover the trap with an old blanket.
Read More: How to Get Rid of Groundhogs

How to Prevent Groundhogs from Invading Your Garden

A fence is the best deterrent for woodchucks. Deer, rabbits, raccoons, and stray animals will all be kept out of the garden by keeping out woodchucks. Building a secure enclosure with six-foot-wide woven-wire fencing is necessary because groundhogs can climb and burrow. The fence should be around four feet tall above ground with the top 12 inches free of fence posts (i.e., floppy and facing away from the garden, so that when a groundhog tries to go over the top, its weight will flip it back). With 12 inches going straight down and the bottom 12 inches bent at a right angle away from the garden, the two feet of underground fencing should be laid out in the shape of an L.

Some gardeners are deterred from digging by a black plastic apron that is heavily weighted down, and an electric fence that is four to six inches above the ground and placed about four to six inches outside of the woven-wire fence has the same effect.

Pay close attention to areas facing fields where woodchucks reside or where they have dug; sometimes extra fortification is required in just these locations. The gate should also be secured. While expensive, fencing is an investment in serious gardening.

FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions)

How Can You Get Rid of Groundhogs?

Because groundhogs are put off by human odor, you can use human hair clippings. Castor oil, which can be applied to the burrow openings while the groundhog is away, repels groundhogs as well.

What Do Groundhogs Eat in the Summer

In the summer, groundhogs forage at dusk and dawn for hackberry, mulberry, and maple leaves. However, live food only makes up a small portion of their diet. They will also eat snails, grasshoppers, and grubs.

Can Groundhogs Get into Houses?

A groundhog's tunnel under your house could lead to damage and loosen the foundation of your house.

How Can You Distinguish Between a Male and a Female Groundhog?

Compared to females, males are slightly bigger.

What Do Groundhogs Eat to Trap Them

Following these trapping tips may help simplify the process. Set up your trap close to a groundhog's burrow or a location they frequently frequent. Then bait the trap, many people have had great success using sunflower seeds, peanut butter and corn, however cantaloupe is often the preferred bait.

Can Groundhogs Attack Humans?

Standing on their hind legs, groundhogs have a bear-like appearance. They can be feared because of their size, but they rarely attack people unless they feel threatened.

What Do Groundhogs Eat in the Winter

Groundhogs do not eat while they are hibernating. They spend the fall months (prior to hibernation) feeding on protein-heavy, rich foods to build fat reserves.

What Vegetables Do Groundhogs Eat

Groundhogs primarily consume grasses, clover, alfalfa, and dandelion flowers. In addition, groundhogs like to eat garden fruits and vegetables like berries, apples, lettuce, corn, and carrots.

Do Groundhogs Eat Fruit

Grass, clover, alfalfa, and dandelions are what groundhogs eat most frequently. In addition, groundhogs like to eat garden fruits and vegetables like berries, apples, lettuce, corn, and carrots.


Sleeping and eating are the two main activities of groundhogs. You can't deny that they can hibernate for several months, even though their destructive eating habits can be quite annoying. If you come across one of these creatures, don't be alarmed; they enjoy their freedom.