Groundhog Day is Feb. 2. Instead of wondering what Punxsutawney Phil is up to, why not get educated on how to keep his cousins out of your garden this spring?
Groundhogs everywhere will emerge from hibernation around Groundhog Day and will be looking to gardens for a good meal after their long slumber, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
“People are excited to see Phil on Feb. 2, but within weeks, some homeowners will complain about groundhogs eating flowers and garden vegetables,” Laura Simon, field director of Wildlife and Habitat Protection community programs for the Humane Society.
Groundhogs hibernate from October until February and usually began mating and breeding after that.
By spring, there are lots of groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, sneaking into gardens where they dig burrows and eat vegetable, according to the Human Society.
But there's a way to coexist peacefully with the creatures.
“With the right tools and a little tolerance, people can easily discourage unwanted groundhog activity in their gardens," said Simon.
- Harassment: If the groundhogs have already began burrowing, block the entrance with a strong-smelling object, such as soiled kitty litter, according to the website, humanesociety.org. Loosely block the entrance to keep the unwanted smell inside. You can also clear vegetation away from the burrow entrance or partially dig the entrance out.
- Be Scary: Use objects that reflect sunlight or that are constantly swayed by the wind to scare the little visitors away from your garden. Dangling tape or big party balloons should do it.
- Lock Them Out: Groundhogs can climb, but they don't like to climb on unstable things, according to the Humane Society. Install a wobbly 3 to 4 foot mesh barrier to keep them out.
Before "evicting" a groundhog from a burrow, consider the time of year. Forcing a groundhog that's a new mother from her home could be considered inhumane, according to the Humane Society.
The animal organization has a program called, "Wild Neighbors" that promotes non-lethal means for resolving conflicts humans may have with animals.
Read more about the Wild Neighbors program by clicking here.
Groundhogs: Are they celebrities or pests? Tell us what you think in the comments.