Thinking about a groundhog as a pet? Please read this article before trapping or charming one into your home. They are demanding animals and quite honestly belong in the wild. Is there any upside? Absolutely. Similar to a dog, my groundhog will lovingly greet me when I come home, but then he hastily scurries back into the crawl space and starts digging. If I had to do it over again, I would have chosen goldfish.
1. Hibernation. My groundhog hibernates in my basement all winter long. This may sound like a good thing, but when he wakes up in the spring, it's a different story. Each year, right around March Madness, this little whistle pig comes climbing up from the basement. Not only is he very hungry, but he's also looking for a new mate. Having to deal with a hungry groundhog in heat in an urban environment is rough to say the least.
2. Digging. These animals absolutely LOVE to dig. I usually have to replace the carpeting in my townhouse twice a year. Last July he dug right through the dry wall and wedged himself in between the walls. I had to call a contractor to help me remove him AND he bit me during the process. I had to get yet another tetanus shot.
3. Veterinarian Care. Not many vets will even agree to see a "pet" groundhog, let alone have experience in dealing with one. I only brought my little guy to the vet once and it was not a pleasant experience. The vet told me I should not try to domesticate a wild animal and she threatened to call animal control.
4. Not good with kids. When I first got my groundhog, I tried to get him comfortable around children. I assume he perceived the children as threats, which is why he started snarling so viciously. Thankfully no one was hurt. For safety measures, I always put him on a leash when we go out and I usually tie a piece of string around his snout so he does not snap at anyone.
5. Special dietary needs. The pet stores do not carry groundhog food, so I just feed him table scraps which may be why he weighs about 45 pounds and is very lethargic. His favorite snack is Bugles and I sometimes let him eat taffy and pretend he is trying to talk.
(No groundhogs were injured during the writing of this article)