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What Do Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day Have In Common?

At first glance, you may have no idea what these two holidays have in common. After all, one is about a fat, furry, adorable little rodent who predicts the weather, and the other is about flying, arrow-wielding babies with Love Potion Number Nine abilities. But if you look a little closer, you will find that these two holidays do actually have quite a bit in common. You see, they are both all about LOVE.

While it is true that many male groundhogs do come out of their burrows on February 2nd, it isn’t so that they can look for their shadow; it is actually to look for someone else’s shadow. They are looking for a mate. Young groundhogs leave their mother and take up residence in their own burrow for the rest of their lives, except when they are mating or raising their young.

Males come out first and start searching for females. Females then emerge and stay just outside, or just inside, their burrows. But after the males locate the females, they go back to sleep. And so do the ladies. Then in March, everyone comes back out and that is when mating occurs. This can progress quickly since the boys know exactly where to find the girls.

While this may be a sweet story of finding love, there is a dark side to having groundhogs take up residence on your property. They are cute and cuddly looking, but they can wreak havoc on your lawn and plants.

  • As mentioned, groundhogs have burrows. But they also have tunnels. Lots of them. Groundhog tunneling systems can be up to 50 feet long and be several feet underground. This way they can be active for weeks or months, doing damage to root systems, and even decks, patios or outbuildings, before being detected.
  • Groundhogs are famous for eating and destroying vegetation. If you have labored hard to cultivate those sunflowers, only to come out one morning to find them all laying on the ground, groundhogs may be the problem.
  • Sprinkler systems can be damaged or rendered inoperable because of groundhog digging.
  • Groundhogs can bring parasites onto your property. If you have pets, they may pick up, and carry inside, parasites such as mites, fleas, or ticks, that groundhogs, or other wildlife, have brought onto your property.

While groundhogs actually come out of their burrows in early February to find love, not to see their shadow, that doesn’t mean that you have to be in love with having them in your yard.

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