Do Hawks Eat Groundhogs? Plus, Other Interesting Facts!

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Groundhogs are adorable little creatures that have some no-so-adorable habits — like digging tunnels in our yards and eating up all of our garden fruits.  That said, these animals aren’t otherwise harmful to humans, so it’s hard to hold grudges against them. In fact, some people even love the little creatures. 

Unfortunately, groundhogs are prey animals to many creatures, including those that reign over the sky. So if you’re wondering, specifically, do hawks eat groundhogs, the answer is yes. 

Why Do Hawks Eat Groundhogs?

Hawks are predators, which means they rely on other animals for food. Smaller hawks may eat insects, lizards, or rodents, while larger species may hunt for rabbits, deer, or even other birds. 

Unfortunately, for the groundhogs, hawks think they make tasty snacks. As it turns out, quite a few hawks enjoy snacking on groundhogs. The red-tailed hawk is one of the groundhog’s most common predators. However, Cooper’s hawk and the sharp-shinned hawk will also take them if given the opportunity.

Raptors are the only ones that enjoy tucking into a groundhog dinner – many types of owls will also prey on these furry critters. So next time you see a hawk circling overhead, there’s a good chance it’s on the lookout for its next meal – possibly a groundhog.

What Type Of Hawk Eats Groundhogs?

Several types of hawks can prey on groundhogs, including the red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, and sharp-shinned hawk. Of these, the red-tailed hawk is the most common, and it is known to inhabit a variety of habitats including woods, fields, and urban areas.

While all three types of hawks will eat small mammals such as mice and voles, Cooper’s hawk is particularly well-suited to hunting groundhogs. This is because Cooper’s hawk has longer legs and sharper claws than other types of hawks, which allow it to better grasp and kill its prey.

In addition, Cooper’s hawk is more likely to live in areas where groundhogs are found, such as forests and edges of fields. As a result, if you want to attract a hawk that will eat groundhogs, Cooper’s hawk is your best bet.

Do Hawks Hunt Groundhogs?

Yes, hawks hunt groundhogs, along with other small mammals, birds, and invertebrates. 

Hawks typically hunt from a perch, using their sharp eyesight to spot potential victims. Once they spot their prey, they will swoop down and grab it with their talons. In some cases, they may also use their beak to kill their prey.

While hawks typically hunt alone, they have been known to hunt in groups to take down larger prey.

Given their hunting habits, it is not surprising that hawks occasionally target groundhogs. However, these furry creatures are not a typical part of a hawk’s diet and are usually only eaten when other food sources are scarce.

Can Hawks Pick Up Groundhogs?

Groundhogs are a common type of rodent that is found in North America. These burrowing animals typically weigh between four and seven pounds and have reddish-brown fur.

Groundhogs are a favorite food source for many predators, including hawks. While hawks can certainly pick up and carry groundhogs, they typically will not attempt to do so unless the groundhog is relatively small.

Groundhogs that weigh more than five or six pounds may be too heavy for most hawks to lift off the ground. In addition, hawks typically hunt during the day, while groundhogs are more active at night.

As a result, sightings of hawks carrying groundhogs are relatively rare.

Do Hawks Eat Dead Groundhogs?

While the majority of their diet consists of small mammals such as rodents and rabbits, hawks will also opportunistically eat carrion – or dead animals. So, do hawks eat dead groundhogs? Yes, they certainly do! Hawks are one of the main predators of groundhogs.

Given the chance, a hawk will make quick work of a groundhog carcass, devouring both the flesh and bones. While most hawks prefer to hunt live prey, being scavengers gives them a significant advantage in times of food scarcity.

So, next time you see a dead groundhog by the side of the road, don’t be surprised if you see a hawk circling overhead.

Conclusion

Hawks are predators that typically hunt small mammals such as rodents and birds. However, they will occasionally eat larger prey, such as rabbits or groundhogs.

Given their hunting habits, it is not surprising that hawks often target groundhogs. Groundhogs are more active at night than hawks, therefore sightings of groundhogs being carried by hawks are uncommon. Nevertheless, hawks are one of the main predators of groundhogs and will opportunistically eat dead ones that they come across.

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