If I See a Rockford Groundhog Out During the Day, Is it Rabid?

Groundhogs or Rockford woodchucks are classified as diurnal. This means that they will mostly be active during daytime. While they are possible carriers of the rabies virus, being active during the day will not help you discern if the groundhog is infected with the virus. It will not be uncommon to see them active during the day since they will be hunting their food during this time.

Signs of Rabid Groundhog

Perhaps this common misconception about Illinois groundhogs being rabid is related to the nocturnal nature of most rodents. Compared to raccoons and other creatures that will mostly be active during nighttime, groundhogs' activity will be concentrated during the daytime. In order to determine if they are carrier of rabies, there are some signs that you need to consider.

Flu-Like Signs

A Rockford groundhog that carries rabies is very rare. However, since they are mammals, they are still considered as potential carrier. The rabid groundhog may appear to be sick. They can experience extreme weakness and even discomfort. This may last for a few days. After this, the condition will progress to a more severe condition since this will attack the nervous system of the host. They may appear lethargic and will show no response to the movements on their environment.

Acting Erratic

A groundhog that is acting normal will retreat to their burrow immediately when confronted with dangers. If the Illinois creature is showing signs of aggressiveness, you will have to be careful when interacting with them. The behavioral changes caused by the rabies virus are due to numerous reasons. They will have a tendency to attack even on the slightest amount of provocation. The disease will progress fast that will cause paralysis to the affected creature.


This state is the final phase of the rabies virus. Depending on the case, this condition will last for about 2-4days. The groundhog may appear like they are choking. They will have difficulty in swallowing even their saliva that will cause excessive drooling. The muscles responsible for chewing, the throat, and the jaw will ultimately be paralyzed. This paralysis will gradually spread in other parts of the groundhogs that will lead to coma and death. 

How to Prevent the Transmission of Rabies

Since the rabies disease can be transmitted through the bite and scratches of the Illinois groundhogs, the best way to prevent the rabies transmission is to avoid approaching the creature. They also have a protective nature so it would be best not to disturb their burrow. In case you noticed that the groundhog in your yard is acting unusual, call the help of the wildlife removal agency immediately.

Due to the hazards and risk that it entails, we do not recommend you to deal with your Rockford infestation personally. It is best to let the professionals handle this complex situation. Though the possibility that the woodchuck may carry rabies is extremely rare, rabies is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. Be sure to take immediate action as soon as you notice the initial sign of groundhog infestation.

Visit our Rockford wildlife control home page to learn more about us.