Ground Hog Holes in Southern Minnesota Roads
I'm not any kind of outdoorsman, but I suspect this hole pictured is a ground hog hole. Have any of you noticed more of these holes this fall? I measured off 2/10ths of a mile on the Steele/Freeborn county line and counted 11 of these holes dug right into the edge of the gravel. That's quite a few. Along a real short stretch of County 3, I counted nine more of these holes, but since the road is blacktop, the holes were in the gravel along the edge of the road or near the top of the ditch.
I originally thought it was just some black soil that had come off a tractor tire until I started noticing a new mound or two every day. Steele County Engineer Anita Benson said these holes sometimes are a nuisance on shoulders of roads or bridge abutments. I'm assuming that the high water table from all the rain this year is at least part of the reason these critters are digging up our roads in an effort to get to higher ground. The area DNR Wildlife Manager seconded my thoughts on the higher ground. However, he was curious why so many holes in such a short distance.
A ground hog digging averages about 46 feet of tunnels and their burrow is about 5 feet deep with several entrances. A ground hog can live up to six years and usually live two or three years. Like a lot of critters if you ignore them, they'll ignore you.
Keep your eyes open for these holes and try not to drive too close to the edge of the road.