Do Groundhogs Eat Human Foods? (Is it Good for Them?)

Groundhogs (Marmota monax) are large rodents, also known as woodchucks, with a range throughout most of Canada and the eastern United States. They hibernate during cold weather but can be active year-round in more temperate regions.

Groundhogs are animals that can quickly destroy a garden, but not only do they eat your precious vegetables and flowers, but they can actually also eat many of our food items such as hot dogs, peanut butter, sweets, and cookies if given the chance! However, most processed human foods are not healthy for groundhogs to eat!

They are wild animals with sharp teeth that will defend themselves against pets that corner them or frighten them, but they do not normally seek out animals as their food.

They do prefer all the plants your backyard has to offer, but will also look through your garbage container if accessible!

Let’s look at some of the human food items groundhogs have been observed to eat!

Do Groundhogs Eat Bread?

Yes, groundhogs will eat bread if they find it lying around, in your garbage can or if offered to them by humans. They are used to eating grasses and grains in the wild, so the bread will not taste too alien to them.

All baked goods like bread, cake, and crackers are appealing to groundhogs!

Groundhogs eat human food naturally if they find it. Once they figure out that humans are a regular source of tasty treats, groundhogs will come back for more! This is especially true if the animals are fed by hand with no fear of being bitten or scaring them away.

Do Groundhogs Eat Hot Dogs?

Yes, groundhogs have been known to eat hot dogs. They hide in their burrows during the day and come out to forage at night.

They can be found near campsites, parks, and suburban backyards where food is abundant. If they find an area where people share their food with them by hand-feeding without fear of being bitten, groundhogs will exploit this opportunity.

Do Groundhogs Like Peanut Butter?

Yes, they do and nuts are a natural part of their diet. Peanut butter is a very high protein food that appeals to groundhogs.

They naturally enjoy eating peanuts and other types of plants that contain protein. So peanut butter is actually not too unhealthy for groundhogs to eat, and it may be used to lure them into a trap in case you want to get rid of them.

A lot of people have attempted to feed peanut butter sandwiches to wild groundhogs that come into their yards or campsites. Groundhogs have a big appetite and will eat almost anything in their path, including peanut butter sandwiches.

Peanuts and other nuts are natural constituents of a groundhogs diet, so peanut butter is also attractive to them.

If you want to give a groundhog peanut butter sandwich, make sure you don’t get bitten. Groundhogs have very sharp teeth and strong jaws that can easily harm humans, but they rarely do.

They will not hesitate to defend themselves if they feel threatened or cornered, but most of the time they will just run away when approached by humans.

Do Groundhogs Like Sweets?

Groundhogs will eat sweets, but they don’t have a particular liking for them as we humans do.

However, groundhogs will eat almost anything depending on what kind of food is available in their natural habitat at the time. If sweets are plentiful, groundhogs will take advantage of this human food source.

groundhog eating sweets
Groundhogs will eat candy if desperate for food!

Groundhogs have a great sense of smell. They can sniff out food sources from long distances. If you leave sweets, like candy, cake, or crackers, out where groundhogs are active; they will eat them.

But these kinds of foods should not make up the bulk of their diet because the high sugar content is not healthy for groundhogs – or humans for that matter!

Sweets are neither delicious nor healthy for groundhogs so it is important that you only give sweet treats to groundhogs as an occasional snack.

Do Groundhogs Like Marshmallows?

No, they don’t particularly like marshmallows but they will eat them if presented to them.

Groundhogs can eat marshmallows if they find them, but this kind of food does not make up the bulk of their diet.

Groundhog eat a marshmallow
Groundhogs can eat marshmallows but it is not good for them due to the high sugar content.

They like them because they are sweet and soft. It is important that you don’t give marshmallows to groundhogs if you wish to feed them, as it is unhealthy long term.

Do Groundhogs Like Ice Cream?

Yes, groundhogs can eat ice cream if they find it, but this kind of food should not make up the bulk of their diet and is very unhealthy for wild animals.

Groundhogs can eat ice cream until they get sick, and you should never give them so much ice cream that they become ill.

What Other Human Foods Do Groundhogs Eat?

Groundhogs are omnivores with a very large appetite. They will eat almost anything, including human snacks, especially crackers and chips, fruits, berries, etc. But also most gardens plants, flowers, vegetables, pies, popcorn, sweet potatoes, onions, leeks, tomatoes, and even garlic.

If you need some proven methods to keep groundhogs out of your backyard, check out the list including my favorite methods here!

Groundhogs will eat what is available to them. If they find human foods that are high in protein or high in sugar, groundhogs will enjoy these treats. They also eat vegetables that grow into the ground, which is how they got their name.

They will eat fruit, flowers, and insects in addition to the crops that humans grow in their gardens. It is good to remember that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

You should never feed groundhogs human food that they may become sick from, such as chocolate or ice cream. This can cause problems for their digestive systems and is bad for their health.

How Do I Prevent Groundhogs From Digging In Your Trash?

There are several things that can be done to prevent groundhogs from digging in your backyard and seeking out your trash, vegetable garden or other food items in your yard.

Also, see my recent post if you want a full list of my favorite methods to keep groundhogs and gophers away!

Here are my favorite methods to deter them in a humane but effective manner!

1. Using ultrasonic sound

Groundhogs, like other bigger animals that may invade your garden, tend to have very good hearing. This means that loud or consistent noises will scare them away or at least shorten their visits.

One of my favorite technologies to keep pests away from my backyard is these cool solar-powered ultrasonic sound emitters that you can buy right off Amazon! In my experience, they really work, and the solar panels on top save you the time and money of changing batteries all the time.  

My favorite ultrasonic emitters. Click to read more at Amazon.

They will also work against other rodents like gophers, mice, and rats!

2. Sprinkling natural repellents

Groundhogs may be scared off by using natural scents such as coyote urine or predator scents.

They may also cause them to leave if there is a combination of sounds being played from a radio. The sounds include the sound of barking dogs and coyotes.

You can sprinkle dog hair, cayenne pepper or strong enteric oils and other natural repellents around the garden to keep the groundhogs away.

See my complete list of humane ways to keep groundhogs away from your yard for more tips and tricks!

3. Fencing around the garden

You can also fence around your garden to keep groundhogs from entering the garden. It should be at least 3 feet deep and have a double row of fencing.

A good deep (underground) fence will keep groundhogs out!

Groundhogs are good diggers so it has to go underground or they may find a way into the garden even with the fences in place!

4. Using live traps

You can use a live trap to capture groundhogs and move them to another area. Live trapping is currently the most humane way of groundhog control. Once you have removed all groundhogs from an area, it is important to ensure that they do not come back by using fencing or other barriers to block access.

You can also just buy a live trap, as the sturdy metal ones shown here:

A live groundhog trap is a humane way to get permanently rid of groundhogs in your yard.

A version with thick gloves for safe handling.

5. Using pesticides

There are pesticides or rodent toxins that can be used to kill groundhogs on your property. These may also affect other animals in the area so it is important to ensure that they are only sprayed on the targeted plants. I do not recommend these, as I prefer more humane ways as described here.

6. Using Scarecrows

You can use a scarecrow in your garden to keep groundhogs away. Groundhogs are afraid of novelty so time-sensitive or motion-activated scarecrows may also be effective in keeping them out of the garden.

7. Using Lights

Groundhogs are nocturnal animals so they may avoid areas that have bright lights. Motion-activated lights, sounds, and sprinklers may help prevent groundhogs from entering your yard.

8. Motion-activated sprinklers

Like most animals, groundhogs hate surprises, and they will run away if suddenly sprayed with water. I like this solution because it is humane, simple, effective, and does not require much time to set up.

My favorite sprinkler option here is the Havahart 5277.

The Havahart 5277 is a motion-activated sprinkler that is activated by the movement of animals up to 25 feet away and sprays them with a harmless water jet, frightening them off and keeping them at bay.

The included metal stake makes it easy to install in your garden, and the sprinkler can be rotated 180 degrees for maximum coverage.

Conclusion

Groundhogs are rodents like mice and rats and they will eat whatever is available to them. Like other omnivorous animals, they are often attracted to sweet and calorie-dense foods so they will naturally be attracted to human foods and leftovers!

If you have problems with groundhogs or gophers in your yard, take a look at why they might be attracted to your yard and how you can deter them in a humane and easy manner.