What Smell Do Groundhogs Hate? (Get Rid Of Groundhogs)

what smell do groundhogs hate

Have pesky groundhogs entered your garden? Are you searching for natural ways to scare them away? Well, worry no more because there is an excellent solution!

Groundhogs have a powerful sense of smell that they use to locate food sources and nearby predators. If a scent is unpleasant or reminds them of an enemy, groundhogs will leave the area to ensure their safety.

This means smell deterrence is an effective way to get rid of these rodents. But what smell do groundhogs hate and how can you use them? Let’s find out in detail below!

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Groundhogs: The Trouble Makers


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Groundhogs belong to the family of ground squirrels called marmots. But, unlike their family members, groundhogs are huge and heavy. They can grow up to be 2 feet long and weigh 10 pounds.

Some people also call them woodchucks, whistle-pigs, or just marmots.

These mammals are primarily classified as herbivores. They can eat tomatoes, beans, broccoli, peas, or any other vegetable. They also like eating plants, such as dandelions and alfalfa. This is a huge issue for your beautiful garden.

Once groundhogs enter your property, they will pluck out all your ripen vegetables and flower heads. They may also feed on small rodents (like mice) and insects, but that is very rare.

What’s more, groundhogs like digging extremely long burrows. An average burrow can be 30 feet long, and if this is built under your house, it can cause serious structural issues. We surely don’t want that, right?

So, you should get rid of these troublemakers as soon as you spot them. These huge rodents are easily identifiable through their brown bodies, long teeth, and white guard hairs. They may look like they are frosted.

Also, note that groundhogs are native to Canada, the United States of America, and some areas of Alaska. You cannot find them in the winter season (October to February) because they are hibernating.

10+ Smells that Groundhogs Hate

Smell deterrence is a simple, cheap, yet highly effective method to repel groundhogs from your property. This is because groundhogs have a good sense of smell which causes them to pick unpleasant scents and leave the place immediately.

Plus, since groundhogs prefer solitary lives, you will only have one target to attack. Just spread the scents everywhere and the groundhog will have no option but to leave!

Here are some of the top smells that groundhogs hate:

1. Urine of Predators

Groundhogs have no defense system against large predators. Whenever they sense danger, they save themselves by vacating the area or hiding in their burrow. So, one of the best smells to repel groundhogs is the urine of predators.

These include cats, dogs, coyotes, foxes, and wolves. But the question is – how to spread the smell of predator urine?

Well, if you have a pet dog or cat, just let them spend time outdoors. They will naturally urinate, poop, and spread their smell. However, if you don’t have this option available, contact your nearest brick-and-mortar store.

Most of these stores keep predator urine in stock. This can be either in liquid or pellet form. We recommend pellets because their scent lasts longer than liquid urine. Purchase it and spread it around the parameters of your house.

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2. Rotten Eggs

Perhaps, we can all agree that the smell of rotten eggs is unbearable. But, for groundhogs, it’s not the unpleasantness of the smell. It’s the message that this scent carries — decaying animals.

This automatically translates into the presence of large predators. Maybe they ate the animal and left its eggs to rot. So, the environment is no longer safe and suitable. The groundhogs will leave the area immediately to ensure survival.

All you must do is throw a rotten egg near the groundhog’s burrow. If you haven’t identified it yet, create a repellent spray. Add 3 eggs to 8 cups of water and mix it thoroughly. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle.

Spray it all over the leaves. Over time, the egg in the mixture will rot and produce a pungent decaying smell.

3. Garlic, Onion, Mustard, and Hot Sauce

Garlic has a pungent smell that groundhogs can’t tolerate. But, for garlic to be an effective smell deterrent, you need to crush the garlic cloves and make a paste. This causes the smell to become more potent.

If the paste is too thick, add a little water to achieve a flowable consistency. Then, spread the garlic paste around your garden.

However, considering the rising inflation, this can be an expensive method. If you can’t afford to purchase garlic in bulk, a better solution is to combine it with other smell deterrents. These include:

  • Onions
  • Mustard
  • Hot Sauce

All of these food items have a pungent scent with a sweet undertone. Together, they create a very powerful groundhog repellent (without costing much). Here’s what you need to do:

  • Pour 3 cups of water into a pot and boil it.
  • Chop some garlic cloves and onions. You will need 1 tbsp of each.
  • Add them to the boiling water, but lower the flame first.
  • Add 1 tbsp of hot sauce and mustard.
  • Mix everything to create a solution.
  • Turn the heat off and let it cool.
  • Use a fine-mesh strainer to filter the solution.
  • Transfer into a spray bottle.

Please note that while using all of these ingredients is recommended, you can skip one or two if not available. In any case, the smell deterrent will work well on groundhogs.

4. Black Pepper

Black pepper has a secret compound called piperine. It is commonly used to deter rodents like rats and mice. But you can also use it for keeping groundhogs away.

The piperine is what gives black pepper a sharp smell. It also causes nasal irritation, which is why you can’t take a sniff of black pepper. As soon as you do, you will start sneezing!

For rodents, this irritation goes as far as extreme discomfort, watery eyes, confusion, and overall toxicity in the body. However, black pepper does not kill a rodent. So, there’s no harm in using it as a smell deterrent.

Just grab a handful of dried black pepper and throw them around the groundhog’s burrow. We don’t recommend using crushed black pepper outdoors. The wind will carry the powder away – making the deterrent useless.

5. Cayenne Pepper


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Cayenne pepper is ranked as one of the hottest peppers in the world. It has a measurement of 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) scale. So, it makes sense why groundhogs stay far away from cayenne pepper.

It does not only smell spicy, but it tastes awfully spicy. And if it gets into the eyes of groundhogs, the irritation will make them never come back to your property again. It’s just too much to handle!

Luckily, we all have some cayenne pepper in our kitchen. So, if a groundhog has stepped into your garden, grab a container of crushed cayenne pepper and sprinkle it near the burrow. But if you don’t know where the groundhog lives, make a spray.

Mix a few tablespoons of powdered cayenne pepper in a bottle of water. Close the cap and shake the bottle until it is well-mixed. Transfer into a spray bottle and spread the spicy water all over the vegetable gardens.

6. Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium is a small herbaceous plant that is shaped like a crane’s bill. It has a citrusy, fruity scent with a spicy accent. People often compare it to a rose but with a more warm, potent lemony smell.

So, if you can plant a geranium plant in your garden, go ahead because groundhogs find the smell offensive. But if you need a more immediate solution, purchase concentrated geranium essential oil.

Just add 10 to 15 drops of this essential oil into a cup of room-temperature water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use it generously in the garden. You can also add garlic or peppermint essential oil to increase the effectiveness.

7. Talcum Powder

Talc is a natural clay mineral that is used in baby products and cosmetics. Many people regularly use talcum powder to reduce sweat odor, soak moisture, and prevent caking up of the makeup.

Although different companies may add different scents, talcum powder generally has a musky, sweet odor that groundhogs dislike. So, if you have a bottle of talcum powder available, sprinkle it generously outside the groundhog’s hole.

8. Lavende


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Surprisingly, groundhogs don’t like the scent of lavender too. The light and fresh floral odor is somehow offensive to these creatures. Wherever they find a lavender plant, they will evacuate the area.

So, you can add lavender to your plant collection. When the wind blows, the smell will spread far and wide in your garden. It will also look pretty.

You can also use lavender essential oil. The method of making the spray repellent will be the same as discussed for geranium essential oil.

9. Ammonia

Ammonia is commonly used in household cleaning sprays and other industrial products. It is a colorless compound that produces a strong, pungent smell like sweat and urine. Inhaling it in high concentrations can cause extreme burning of the eyes, throat, and nose.

So, it is another excellent smell deterrent for the groundhog problem. You can use low concentrations of ammonia to scare these pesky rodents away. To do so, soak a clean rag in ammonia and wrap it on a stick. Place it near the groundhog’s burrow entrances and tunnels.

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10. Other Useful Smells

While the above-mentioned deterrents are the most effective against groundhogs, you can also try mothballs. These small balls contain deodorant and chemical pesticides. Both of these ingredients work together to keep all types of pests away.

If you are looking for a natural deterrent, it is recommended to try these herbs; mint, rosemary, chives, sage, basil, oregano, lemon balm, and thyme. Groundhogs hate their smells and will steer clear of them.


By now, we hope there is no confusion regarding the question – what smell do groundhogs hate? These rodents hate any smell that is pungent, sharp and has a very sweet or spicy accent.

Examples include urine of predators, rotten eggs, geranium essential oil, lavender, talcum powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic, and ammonia. If you know about other useful smell deterrents, let us know in the comments!

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