As you may know, Groundhog Day is observed on February 2nd to predict if there will be an early spring or if six more weeks of winter are in order. Groundhogs are large, ground-dwelling rodents found mainly on the East Coast that can cause severe damage to landscapes, gardens, and structures.
While California doesn't have these future-predicting rodents, the West Coast is home to groundhog relatives and look-alikes that are often considered pests in our landscapes and homes. These include other destructive, burrowing rodents like pocket gophers, ground squirrels, voles, Norway rats, and the invasive aquatic rodent, nutria.Though not rodents, moles are another burrowing animal that you may encounter in gardens and landscapes.
Burrowing animals and vertebrate pests in general are difficult to manage, especially in and around our homes and landscapes. The safest and most effective way to control these pests is by trapping, exclusion, and habitat modification.
To learn more about vertebrate pests in and around the home and garden, see UC IPM's vertebrate Pest Notes publications or visit the Wildlife Pest Identification Tool for help identifying vertebrate pests and finding management solutions.
Author - Urban and Community IPM Educator