Rock chucks and woodchucks sound alike and are closely related but are two different species of marmot. Marmots are large ground squirrels which are the largest members of the squirrel family. Rock chuck is a nickname given to the yellow-bellied marmot and woodchucks are better known as groundhogs.
Identification of Rock Chucks & Groundhogs
Groundhogs are usually about 18 to 24 inches long and have a tail that is between 7 and 10 inches long. They can get quite heavy for their size and can weigh about 13 pounds. Groundhogs have light to dark brown fur and can sometimes be gray. Their paws are dark brown to black in color. Rock chucks or yellow-bellied marmots are smaller than groundhogs and weigh about 8 pounds but are about the same size in length. They are paler than groundhogs too with a yellow-brown color and a yellow-orange tummy. The rock chuck has pale yellow spots on the side of their neck and they also have white fur between their eyes. These marmots look similar but have social behaviors that are very different. While groundhogs are solitary and territorial, rock chucks frequently live in large colonies. The groundhog lives primarily east of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and north into Canada. They can be found in forests with low elevations, pastures and in human suburbs. The rock chuck lives in the western United States and into Canada. They live in grassy forests but they also live in deserts and mountains where groundhogs do not.
How to Get Rid of Rock Chucks
Rock chucks are herbivores and will find your favorite flowers and ripe tomatoes very appealing! Their burrowing can cause lots of problems in a short amount of time. They can damage your lawn, dig under foundations and can transfer parasites. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get rid of them.
1. Make sure you’re not making your property attractive to them. Remove old wood and stumps they will use to gnaw on to keep their teeth filed down. Make sure fences are at least 3 feet high and made with heavy-grade chicken wire and buried at least 10 inches below ground.
2. Plant a food source just for them away from your plants. They really like alfalfa and clover. This might be enough to keep them away from your garden.
3. Apply repellents to deter them. Hot pepper spray and talcum powder are good ways to keep them away. You can also use dog urine as a repellent.
4. Fumigate the burrows. Find all the burrow entrances and block all but one entrance. Light the cartridge and throw it into the burrow and block the entrance so they can’t get out.
5. Harass them. Keep filling burrow entrances to annoy them. Try spreading molasses at the entrance to the burrow. They will avoid it because they don’t like to get sticky. Set up motion-activated sprinklers to blast them with water. Your efforts will need to be continuous and concentrated to be effective.
Nuisance Wildlife Control in Northern Utah
If your efforts to deter them have failed, you can try trapping them however there are trapping laws and in some states, it’s illegal to relocate trapped wildlife in an area other than where it was caught. To play it safe, contact Rentokil for professional wildlife control and removal in Northern Utah.
Rock Chuck VS Woodchuck Marmots in Smithfield, UT; How to Get Rid of Squirrels & Groundhogs in Salt Lake County and Northern Utah
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