Groundhog

Asked July 31, 2018, 8:08 PM EDT

I came across a groundhog that was hit in the road but was still alive and a tractor trailer would have ran over it had i not gotten into a laundry basket that i had in car. I was on my way to an appt and had to take it with me not knowing what condition it was in. Unfotunately it must of only been in shock because when i came out of appt(20 min) later it was loose in my car. I managed to get back to where i found it and drove up a driveway close by and opened back of vehicle onto a bank so it could go right out. It had gotten into the back part of my Jeep Cherokee so it could have easily gotten out. I waited for quite sometime but it would not budge.and prodding it only made it mad. I think the sound of traffic which was quite near frightened it. I live way out in the woods and country, its very quiet so i took it home with me and opened back. 1/2 hour later he got out. I feel like even though i saved it from being killed did i do the wrong thing even though he refused to get out where i found him? Worried i just delivered him from one terrible fate to another?

Pennsylvania wildlife

4 Responses

Well, let me first that say it was very kind of you to try so hard to help the little guy out. It certainly has had quite an adventure today. Next, I admit that maybe your choices weren't the best for the ground hog. However, I do think that its current fate is better than being ran over.

Yes, it would probably have been better for you to have picked it up and merely moved it to a safe place near where it was hit. Animals have an amazing resilience to injury - as you have now experienced - and will often recover.

When you tried to release it after your appointment, it probably would have eventually ran away. You are correct that it was just very afraid. It had had quite a day so far! It's survival response is to stand as still as possible in the face of danger. In this case, it sounds counter-intuitive, but it is something instinctive that the animal can't get around. Once it got its bearings and felt safer it would have moved - which is what it did in the back of your jeep once you got home.

Generally, we discourage relocating wildlife because it can be traumatic to the animal and spread diseases. However, there is still a good chance that this ground hog will find a way to survive. It seems pretty resilient thus far! PA has some great ground hog habitat and it will most likely be able to find some shelter. It's danger now is being able to make a new home without being in another ground hog's territory. It probably has a good chance of that. I think this fate is better than being ran over.

Don't let it haunt you, you were trying to be kind, and you saved it from instant death. Translocating a ground hog is a far lesser evil than being callous and knowingly letting it get ran over. At least it has a chance now!

All the best,

Thank you Nicki. I really do feel bad about relocating it. Im pretty sure there were no babies involved because its belly did not look as though babies had been suckling. I appreciate your answering my question. God forbid if theres a next time i will know better what to do. Ive rescued lots of animals but this was my first groundhog incident. Its never been anything bigger than a bird, mouse etc. I swear life is a constant education and poor wildlife hardly has a chance. Thank you again. Connie D.

Thank you Nicki. I really do feel bad about relocating it. Im pretty sure there were no babies involved because its belly did not look as though babies had been suckling. I appreciate your answering my question. God forbid if theres a next time i will know better what to do. Ive rescued lots of animals but this was my first groundhog incident. Its never been anything bigger than a bird, mouse etc. I swear life is a constant education and poor wildlife hardly has a chance. Thank you again. Connie D.

Connie,

Agreed - wildlife biology keeps me on my toes.