groundhog spotted under my deck #549285 - Ask Extension


groundhog spotted under my deck #549285

Asked March 27, 2019, 1:19 PM EDT

I spotted a groundhog on my wood deck on March 27. It scurried underneath when I approached. My deck is approximately 10' x 15', and extends from the first floor of our house, about 14" above ground level, with only soil underneath. I live in a suburban neighborhood, with approximately 1/2 acre back lot, mostly lawn. I've read that groundhogs' burrowing behavior can cause damage to decks. I don't see any evidence of burrowing around the edges of the deck. How can I determine whether the groundhog is burrowing under the deck? If it is, do I need to eradicate the animal? If so, please recommend methods for removing or exterminating.

Macomb County Michigan

Expert Response

Thank you for your inquiry. There is concern with burrowing groundhogs with regard to damage to the deck as well as possible damage to the foundation of your house.

Have you noticed any dirt piled up or any signs of digging that can help confirm whether you have  groundhogs burrowing under your deck?

MSU Extension cannot make a recommendation about a company that can live trap and remove the animal. If you choose to trap yourself, try baiting with apple. But then you would have to decide how to kill the animal, whether by taking it somewhere else where it will probably die slowly, or by killing it outright. If you get an extermination company, that is what they do. They set a trap near the opening they think the animal is using to enter and exit, then take the animal away to dispose of it.

This is also a good article with more information about woodchucks that you might find helpful, including guidance on exclusionary measures:

You may also want to contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Customer Service Center:,4570,7-350-79137_79765_81257---,00.html

Hope this is helpful.

Bindu Bhakta Replied April 07, 2019, 10:26 PM EDT

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