Can You Own A Pet Groundhog?

Do groundhogs make good pets? The short answer is no they won’t but there is always more to say. First, you might ask while anyone would want a groundhog as a pet. Most people consider them a pest and they destroy millions of gardens, flower beds, and planted vegetables each year. Well, apart from their “destructive” behavior they are just cute little furballs.

Tamed groundhog looking into the camera

Is It Legal To Have A Groundhog As Pet?

No, it is illegal to keep a pet groundhog. This is because they are native wildlife and therefore you would need a license or permit to have one in most states of the US and Canada.

However, if you catch one in your garden you are even not allowed to release it somewhere else. All you can do is either hope that they leave your property or kill it. 

That said, you would have a hard time caring for your new pet anyway. It’s better for both of you, believe me!

Can Groundhogs Be Domesticated?

Groundhogs in the mountains eating a cracker

No, groundhogs can’t be domesticated. But they can be tamed. If you want to know how you befriend and tame a groundhog, I suggest reading the section further below.

Domestication is a process that takes place through selective breeding. Because many people think of whistle pigs, as groundhogs are also called, as pests and because they are illegal, no one would breed this animal. But that would be the requirement for domestication.

Are Groundhogs Friendly?

Groundhogs almost look as nice and friendly as quokkas or capybaras. But what about their real personality and behavior?

Groundhogs aren’t mean. The opposite is the case. In general, groundhogs are friendly but have in mind they are wild animals.

They are herbivores and not predators but they can defend themselves very well. Their claws and teeth are quite sharp and bites can hurt a lot.

That being said, you can compare them to hamsters, guinea pigs, and other small pets. They like to play are friendly, yet have their moods.

Watch the video below to see a groundhog that likes to hang around with his human friend.

What To Feed A Pet Groundhog?

Groundhogs are mostly herbivores that like fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, roots, and beets. From time to time they will also eat insects or snails. You see, they also have things on the menu we consider pests. This fact can help us reconsider what we think about woodchucks before we try to chase them out of our garden.

You will have a hard time finding something that a groundhog doesn’t like to eat.

Groundhogs Hibernate

Groundhogs hibernate and they will do so even in captivity. That means you should be prepared if you want to keep one as a pet. 

From October to March your pet would need a dark, quiet, and cold place where no one will disturb it. To be honest a suitable place isn’t easy to find in most houses.  

Groundhogs Dig And Climb Trees

Yes, unlike moles they aren’t only good at digging but also like to climb a lot. For an enclosure that would mean you have to ensure that your pet groundhog can’t both, dig or climb its way out.

As they need a lot of space to roam around you would really have a problem with the habits. A cage is definitely not enough and a groundhog would be very unhappy and frustrated in such a habitat. If you let it roam in your garden it’s just a matter of time until it runs away. 

Can You Actually Buy A Groundhog?

Picture of surprised groundhog

If you ask yourself where you can buy a groundhog, I have to disappoint you. The correct answer is nowhere! As this animal is illegal to keep you can’t just buy one in the pet store.

Even small pet breeders don’t have groundhogs for sale. The only way you can one is to steal a baby from its mother. But that would be highly unethical and I hope you wouldn’t do that.

But what about getting in contact with one in your garden? You will see that you both can get along with each other very well if you want.

How To Befriend A Groundhog?

You can befriend a groundhog like you would befriend every other wild rodent. The best route usually is over its food. Just place a bowl with some veggies, roots, or nuts near your house and wait till the woodchuck comes to eat.

Over time you try to place yourself nearer to the food bowl. After a while, it might be possible to hand feed the groundhog. You can also read the story of Rama who befriended a groundhog in her garden.