15. An analysis of groundhog burrow site characteristics

Natalia Reyes

Description/Abstract

Groundhogs (Marmota monax) are a very common sight in north Georgia and beyond through the Appalachian Mountains and Canada. These large rodents are often trapped or hunted due to their garden infestations and excessive burrowing causing infrastructure issues. However, their underground burrow networks play an important ecological role by providing vital shelter for foxes, skunks, snakes, and other animals. While burrow structure and characteristics have been studied in the past, most sources are outdated, and new information could be useful for their continued species success and the conservation of potential cohabitating species. In this study we are describing groundhog burrow sites based on soil pH, soil temperature, soil moisture, burrow diameter, and distance from each burrow to the nearest man-made structure. To date, we have observed and gathered data for thirty-eight burrows across the Lumpkin county region. We are analyzing and determining plausible correlations within our data that could inform us of the preferred environmental characteristics groundhogs consider when creating their burrows. This research could potentially be a step in further understanding the ecological role of these large mountain rodents.

 
Mar 26th, 12:00 PM Mar 26th, 12:00 PM

15. An analysis of groundhog burrow site characteristics

Poster Session

Groundhogs (Marmota monax) are a very common sight in north Georgia and beyond through the Appalachian Mountains and Canada. These large rodents are often trapped or hunted due to their garden infestations and excessive burrowing causing infrastructure issues. However, their underground burrow networks play an important ecological role by providing vital shelter for foxes, skunks, snakes, and other animals. While burrow structure and characteristics have been studied in the past, most sources are outdated, and new information could be useful for their continued species success and the conservation of potential cohabitating species. In this study we are describing groundhog burrow sites based on soil pH, soil temperature, soil moisture, burrow diameter, and distance from each burrow to the nearest man-made structure. To date, we have observed and gathered data for thirty-eight burrows across the Lumpkin county region. We are analyzing and determining plausible correlations within our data that could inform us of the preferred environmental characteristics groundhogs consider when creating their burrows. This research could potentially be a step in further understanding the ecological role of these large mountain rodents.