Are Groundhogs Dangerous? (Q&A About Rodent Aggressions)

Groundhogs are not dangerous but they get a bad reputation because humans treat them as pests. They are only dangerous if you give them a reason. If you leave them alone, they will go on their way without bothering you.

In today’s Floofmania discussion, we are going to go deep into the groundhog’s violent (?) personality.

Can Groundhogs Be Aggressive? 

Groundhogs are usually not aggressive but they can be when they are provoked and pushed into a corner. They bite, scratch, and do what their instincts tell them so they can defend themselves and escape. 

Groundhogs avoid people as much as they can and will run away if you approach them. They rarely interact with people and groundhog attacks rarely happen. In fact, it is us, humans, that terrorize them for simply following their instincts.

Burrowing and digging in peace is normal groundhog behavior, but we react by driving them away from their natural habitats.

Do Groundhogs Bite People And Pets?

Groundhogs rarely bite and attack people and pets because they stay within their own territories and keep to themselves. 

The few times groundhogs were reported to have bitten or attacked a person or pet is when they were provoked. Imagine people pulling them out from their burrows while they’re resting after having hibernated all the winter through! Who wouldn’t be angry and bite?

Groundhogs only bite when they fear for their safety, like when people destroy their homes and when they feel threatened for their lives and offspring. People even set their dogs to chase groundhogs so dogs end up getting bitten out of self-defense.

Groundhogs Bite And Attack When They Are Sick Or Injured

Groundhogs become defensive when they are hurt or injured and people and pets get close to them. For a groundhog, this is a defence mechanism, and when they’re weak, it’s sometimes better to become aggressive than to try and escape.

What To Do If A Groundhog Bites You

Groundhog bites and scratches are nasty and very painful because groundhogs have very large sharp teeth, and razor-sharp claws. 

If bitten, remember to:

  • Gently wash and disinfect the bite site.
  • Wrap it with clean gauze or a band-aid.
  • Get medical attention, get it treated, and get vaccinated against rabies right away.
  • Call animal control or a wildlife removal expert to assess the animal and remove it safely to avoid any more run-ins.

It is hard to assess if the groundhog that bit you has rabies so it is important to assume that it has, and have it treated immediately.

Do Groundhogs Spread Diseases?

Groundhogs carry fleas and ticks that carry diseases and bacteria which they can transfer to humans if bitten. They can pass diseases like the Powassan virus and Lyme disease. They may also carry hepatitis and tularemia, although this is rare.

Powassan virus causes encephalitis which is an infection of the brain that is very dangerous. Lyme disease causes fever, headaches, fatigue, and skin rash.

Groundhogs also carry rabies which they can pass on to humans and pets if bitten. Rabies is treatable but if left untreated, it can cause damage to the brain and can be fatal. The more reason we need to leave groundhogs alone!

Can Groundhogs Damage My House And Property?

Well, he’s trying to..

Don’t encourage groundhogs into your home or property, they are not good pets, and they should be left in the wild and not in your home.

Groundhogs are natural engineers who love to dig and create complex tunnels for their homes and nurseries. If you let them into your property, prepare for chaos and destruction.

  • Groundhogs chew and bite on wood which could be your walls, porch, flooring, furniture, etc.
  • Groundhogs chew on electrical wires, cables, and anything they can get their teeth into.
  • Groundhog burrows and tunnels can break apart your building foundation.
  • Groundhogs can cause water damage because their complex tunnel system can lead water to flow directly underneath your house.
  • Groundhogs can chew on furniture, even some appliances.
  • Groundhogs will eat through crops, vegetables, and plants in your garden.
  • Groundhogs can ruin your landscaped gardens and lawns.
  • Groundhogs can cause damage to the irrigation systems of farms.

The damage groundhogs can do to your home and property can rack up hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Keep your property fenced up and groundhog-free!

Should I Worry About Groundhogs?

Groundhogs are not dangerous and should not be a cause for worry as long as you keep them out of your home and property and you leave them alone.

If you find groundhogs on your property, especially if they have dug a burrow, call your local authorities for advice and help. Do not approach or harm them, but wait instead for the experts to take care of the problem.

Wild animals just follow their instincts, they do not intend harm or trouble, but are just being wild. If you do not hurt or threaten them, there is nothing to worry about.

Safety Reminders:

Groundhogs don’t want to be within your vicinity either, but most of the time, they have no choice. Groundhogs go where their home is or where food is abundant. 

If you encounter one, keep safe and remember the following:

  • Stay a safe distance, and keep your children and pets out of reach.
  • Do not approach or touch them, they will bite if they feel threatened.
  • Do not give them food or water, they might assimilate you with food and they will keep coming back.
  • Do not use chemicals and similar techniques to drive them away.
  • Stay away, keep safe, call the authorities, and wait for help.

Read also: Are Groundhogs Going Extinct? (Threats & Dangers)

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