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Species: Groundhog

Protection Level
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Federally Protected No
State Protected No
VA Nuisance Species Yes


The groundhog also know as a woodchuck or whistle pig is a member of the squirrel family. Their omnivore appetite deem them as pest to many landowners due to their feeding on most garden plants. Their tunneling nature also make them a less than desirable species to many for fear that they will destroy the foundations to building and cause unwanted holes in yards and pastures.

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Marmota monax monax

More Photos

Marmota monax monax
[© Charles Warren, CMI]

county distribution map for Marmota monax monax



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The groundhog is designated a nuisance species in Virginia 4VAC15-20-160. Virginia law allows the taking of all nuisance species at any time. While groundhogs are classified as a nuisance in Virginia a landowner should use lethal alternatives only after all non-lethal controls have been exhausted.

In Virginia it is illegal to

  • transport or release a groundhog anywhere other than the property it was caught on. 4VAC15-30-50
  • poison any animal (including groundhog) other than rats and mice on your property. 4VAC15-40-50
  • set a trap where it would be likely to injure persons, dogs, stock or fowl. §29.1-521.
  • not visit all traps once each day and remove all animals caught. §29.1-521



Management Options
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Other Sources

Best practices for nuisance wildlife control operators in New York State

Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife, Maryland Cooperative Extension (need to scroll to appropriate species)

Managing Woodchuck Problems in Missouri, Missouri Cooperative Extension

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage-1994

Woodchucks, Urban Wildlife Damage Control, Kansas Cooperative Extension

Woodchucks Wildlife Damage Management Fact Sheet Series, Cornell Cooperative Extension



Life History
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Life History information can be found at the Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service Web page.



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There are many diseases that wildlife species are capable of carrying and transferring to humans (zoonotic diseases). While all zoonotic diseases are a serious threat to humans this website will only address those that are a concern for Virginia residents.