Unlike the gopher and mole the groundhog is a surface grazer typically found eating grasses, forbs, clover, leaves of sassafras and other trees, numerous herbs, alfalfa, planted clover, corn, oats, and assorted fruits and vegetables. The groundhog is a member of the squirrel family but can be differentiated from the squirrel by its larger size. The large size of the groundhog along with its surface lifestyle are factors that can be used to reduce any potential in confusing the groundhog with the gopher, mole, or vole however these factors may fail to distinguish the groundhog from the prairie dog.
An unchecked groundhog population can cause a considerable amount of damage to crops for which it has an affinity, as they have been known to eat over a pound and a half of food per individual per day. This ability to consume a large amount of food in combination with the groundhogs´ explosive population growth due to deforestation can lead to problems for the crop farmer and his equipment as well as the individual with a vegetable garden. In situations where there is potential for groundhog crop damage, preventative measures must be taken.
The groundhog is a daytime forager and is nearly never seen outside of its den after sundown. During the summer months the groundhog will search for food in the morning and early evening hours and in the afternoon can most likely be observed sprawled out "sunning itself" in the midday sun.
The groundhog, also know as the woodchuck, hibernates, as many will well know due to the fame of a particular groundhog named "Punxsutawney Phil" who is famous for predicting the beginning of spring.