The Diet of a Groundhog

Groundhogs live in places with open fields and also plenty of green vegetation in the form of bushes and weeds. Some of the most essential components of a groundhog’s diet are nuts, foliage that comes from bushes, ferns, grass, flowers, fruits and grains. Some of the plants that groundhogs eat most are: clovers, asters, plantains, sorrel, dandelion and chicken weed. They cherish juicy plants since they can rarely drink water directly from a water source.

Some of their favorite fruits are berries and cherries. They also love cultivated crops like beans, corn, squash, soybeans, broccoli, peas and lettuce. Eating cultivated crops causes huge losses to farmers and that is why many farmers try to keep their farms free from groundhogs. It should be noted that a fully grown or mature groundhog can consume more than a pound of plants per day, which is a very large amount compared to its size.

Although groundhogs are considered predominantly herbivores, there are some factors that have led animal scientists to conclude that groundhogs are indeed not fully herbivorous. For example, it is not an uncommon occurrence to find groundhogs enjoying a meal of eggs, snails, juvenile birds and bugs. They can even feed on larger insects such a grasshoppers and June bugs. However, it should be noted that their largest source of their food is still plants and they may even go for a long time without feeding on anything other than greens.

Find out more: Where should I relocate a trapped groundhog?

The feeding style of groundhogs is just as pronounced as any other herbivorous. They typically stick to a feeding timetable which is a feeding period of about two hours at a time. They consume a large percentage of their meal in the mornings and they may eat another meal in the late evenings for around the same two hours as the mornings. However, they also eat during the night,

Hibernation is a very important aspect when studying the feeding patterns of groundhogs. They normally go into hibernation for the whole duration of the winter. During this time, their feeding pattern changes as they mostly hide away from the cold in their surroundings. As such, they mostly consume tree barks and tiny plant branches and also the occasional bugs when they need a protein boost. During the months of the autumn period, groundhogs normally load up on food in their dens and burrows. This is their way of ensuring that they have sufficient fat reserves to help them stay alive during the winter season when they cannot look for food for long durations of time. During this time, they feed on very small amounts of food. This is because they are conserving their body energy by not moving around much.

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