How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs In A Vegan Friendly Way

They may be adorable and do a somewhat decent job of predicting the weather, but these furballs can wreck your garden before you say “Bill Murray”. The kindest way to get rid of them is with repellants, though you may need to become a bit unkind and block or destroy their tunnels if they are very persistent.

Trap and release is also a good option, but you will have to be twice as careful about picking a trap since their tiny bodies can get hurt easily.

<h2>Apettite for destruction<h2>

Groundhogs don’t seem to be as dangerous as other furry intruders, but they are equally if not more destructive than the lot of them.

Let’s talk about appetite. As in, groundhog’s appetite is disproportionally large in comparison to their size. This is a death sentence for your veggie garden, but flowers are not completely safe either.

And then there are the tunnels. They can affect anything from your crop to other vegetation, to the overall appearance of the soil. The closer the tunnel is to the surface, the more it will impact what’s just over it.

This one is not their fault, but understand that these guys are prey to some local predators. This may go from not only having a groundhog problem but a fox problem or even a coyote problem.

<h2>How do I know I have a groundhog problem?<h2>

Holes in the ground and eaten veggies. Though small teeth marks on the produce may come from other small woodland creatures, none of the will dig the hole in the middle of your garden.

Pay attention to wilting plants, dead grass, ill trees, and uneven terrain – they all can be a sign there is a tunnel somewhere underneath.


The kindest and most painless method of getting rid of groundhogs is to tell them they are not welcome through the copious amount of repellant.

All regular store-bought repellants will work, but there are a few other things you may try.

It would be easy to assume you don’t own a cat or a dog, since you would not have to deal with this issue of you had them. But if a friend or a family member has one or the other, bring them over and encourage them to mark their new territory. Groundhogs smell a big predator may be close by and stay away all on their own.

Dog or cat hair may work as well. Since animals carry quite a lot of pheromones in their coats, the scent in the hair will send the same message as urine. Funnily enough, some people report that human hair may work as well.

Other scents they are not too keen is about are garlic and pepper. Use them alone or combine to level up your game. Use them whole and dot them around the area. Or blend them with some plain water, and spray it everywhere, including your veggies and flowers. And because this mixture has no ingredients that are harmful to humans, it’s safe to spray the veggies directly.

Another scent they are not big fans of is baby powder. Sprinkle it around the edges of your garden or backyard and simply top it up from time to time. Groundhogs hate both the smell and feel of it so they are not very likely to trespass once they sniff the baby powder out.


If your only worry is to protect your veggies from being devoured, you may only need to make a fence around that part of your property. For the most basic solution, all you have to do is pick up some chicken wire from the local farming or home improvement store.

Obviously, these little guys like to dig, but they will not Mission Impossible themselves inside overnight. Once a day, check the ground for unevenness and signs of underground disturbance.

This simple fence will also work with other small pests, but if you need to worry about big ones as well (ie deer) you will need to spend more effort in making the fence sturdy and secure.

<h2>Blocking and destroying the tunnels<h2>

It’s a nuclear option, but the most practical one if the entrance to their tunnel is on your property. But remember that you are not only destroying their home but also a very complex structure that serves multiple purposes. It may also be home or a hideout for other animals like rabbits, skunks, garter snakes, etc.

Each tunnel connects to a “room”, and each one of those rooms has a purpose, just like the ones in our homes. There’s a bedroom, a nursery, a pantry, and even a toilet (of sorts). So you can’t just rush in and close things up without a bit of planning. And a lot of help.

The truth is that this job is not suitable for an amateur. It’s better to call in the professionals if you want to avoid any mishaps.

The method is simple – first, you have to “persuade” the groundhogs to leave (don’t skip this step even if you saw them leave the tunnels since there could be some babies left behind there), and then they plug the entrances.

Depending on the terrain and soil, there may be a need to fill the tunnels with sand or soil as much as possible before sealing them. This may be also necessary if they are affecting the integrity of that patch of land. And this is why you will need to get professionals in as well because they will be able to diagnose this problem.

Going back to the “persuasion” part, it’s usually accomplished by blowing air through the tunnels with an air compressor. Unless there are some structural issues down there, this should not hurt them in any way. But if you’re still worried, talk to the contractor about it first. One of the old methods includes using smoke, but that can be a lot more deadly in case of a complicated tunnel system and/or babies.

Sonic vibration is also a good option, but you will need special equipment for that as well.

To avoid any chance of hurting the babies, don’t do your work before the end of May. Groundhogs give birth by early April, and babies stay with their mother for at least a month and a half.

<h3>Digging up the tunnels<h3>

When you are building on the spot that currently has groundhog tunnels, you may need to dig them out completely so you can have a good foundation. This is also true if you’re building a <a href=” link to market garden article “>garden</a> and you need to prepare the solid for planting.

It’s still smarter to get the professionals to do it, but if you’re taking up the task yourself, at least get them to give you a visit and bring the air compressor with them.

<h2>Trap and release<h2>

This method is most useful if the groundhog’s dwelling is not on your property. Because, what’s the point of releasing them as far away as possible if they are just going to figure out how to come back home?

When working with smaller animals, you’ll need to be twice as careful as if you would be with <a href=” link to raccoon article “>raccoons</a> for example. You may need to avoid classic metal wire cages because they may hurt them if the mechanism fails of wires get loose.

Look for something like the <a href=””>No. 8 Skunk-N-More Double Door Trap</a> from Wildlife Control Supplies. It’s completely made out of metal and designed to handle an agitated skunk, so it will last for a very long time. Also, the fully enclosed design will help protect your little intruder from natural elements.

As a best buy option, you can also try the <a href=””>WCS Wooden Double Door Rabbit Trap</a>. It’s specially designed for small animals that refuse to enter wire cages and know that the scent of metal means trouble. You will have to put it under a cover of sorts to protect the wood from the elements, but it should work just fine.

Don’t forget to carefully read the manufacturers instructions so you know how to properly set up, use, and maintain your trap.

<h3>Where to set the trap?<h3>

If the groundhogs have already managed to do a number on your garden, set the trap in the area they like to visit the most. But if you can identify from which direction they are coming from, set it halfway between that point and your plants.

<h3>Where to release the groundhogs?<h3>

Ideally, as close to their home you can. This means you will have to do a bit of homework and figure out where the tunnels are.

But if you can’t figure it out on your own, get in touch with people from your community and try to guess the general area at least. After they exit the trap, they will be disoriented for a bit, so you really don’t want to throw them into the deep end by abandoning them at a completely unknown location. Foxes, owls, and other predators still see them as food, and their home is their best line of defense against them.

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