The groundhog out of all the mammals digs the most. They are such active diggers they can unearth nearly 700 lbs. of dirt for just 1 den with the average groundhog having up to 4 or 5 dens. For skunks, foxes (red and grey), Opossum and the raccoon the groundhog burrow is an important place for them as they are not burrow diggers on their own and will readily use the groundhogs hard work.
Burrows are generally identifiable by the mound of dirt that rests outside of it. If you spot a mound of dirt or whole under your porch or at your shed first be certain it is an active den. The way to do this is by placing sticks at the entrance and check on it daily for at least 3 days. If the sticks have been walked upon or moved then your den is active. The most that can be done at this point is to attempt to use a trap. This particular den may not be the groundhogs primary den; they have tunnels under the ground leading to a maze of dens. This is how they undermine the ground. Another indication that you may have an active groundhog den under your property would be by the faint smell of urine. Burrows are generally dug near food sources, so your problem may be caused by the proximity of your property to a garden and/or farm.
Because of the groundhogs digging ability the groundhog can easily loosen the dirt around your porch and shed leaving them weakened and improperly balanced. Because the digging occurs beneath the foundation this will cause your foundation to settle. If your foundation to you porch or shed is already loose the groundhog will have an easier task of it.
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There are methods to protect your porch or shed from be further damaged, however, this first requires the empty den. There are a few types of traps that you can use to capture and then remove the groundhog. Once they have been removed prevention can begin. A professional would more than likely is your safest choice. They will be able to assess the damage and determine if you need any further work than preventative measures.
For the do it your self-person installation of hardware clothes as gap filler, wire mesh and patio blocks are one method. This will not only secure the gaps but will prevent a reentry. The patio block method does not require digging and may prove to be easier on your back. Stopping the reentry and moving the woodchuck to another site is quite important. The patio block method must be used on any loose dirt around the entire foundations of your property.
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