A wildlife biologist at New Hampshire Fish and Game said on Monday that there could be a number of reasons why the woodchuck population is so large at Wagon Hill Farm in Durham this year.

Last week, Town Administrator Todd Selig wrote in his Friday Updates that the plants and gardens at Wagon Hill were taking off with the rain and heat.

But so was the woodchuck population.

Selig wrote the gardeners at Wagon Hill have never noticed so many woodchucks in the past and they were wondering if people may be relocating them to the farm along with other pesky vermin.

Selig told Seacoast Current there has been anecdotal evidence that would suggest people may be relocating woodchucks and other animals to Wagon Hill, but nobody has seen anyone perform any dumping.

Wildlife Biologist Karen Bordeau is the leader of New Hampshire Fish and Game's small game project and she says they are not receiving reports from the public indicating an increase in the state's woodchuck population.

Bordeau has noticed an increase in the number of woodchucks at her house.

In Bordeau's case, she had two female woodchucks which each had a litter of six pups.

Bordeau said perhaps the woodchucks at the farm had a good reproductive season and gardeners are noticing the growing youth in the fields.

"They won't be as big as a female, but they might be about one-third as big as her," Bordeau said.

Bordeau said the pups disperse and go out on their own before it is time to hibernate.

"They don't go back in the den with her in the winter," Bordeau said of the pups moving on from their mothers.

Bordeau said another possibility is that there are not a plethora of natural predators in the area.

If people need to deal with nuisance animals, officials at NH Fish and Game have some suggestions, including:

-Removing what's attracting the wildlife

-Putting barriers between the wildlife and the attractants

-Removing the wildlife

Officials remind people to have a plan for what they are going to do if they catch the animal.

People should make sure that their spot of release for the animal is acceptable before leaving it behind.

Woodchucks, or Marmota monax, are part of the marmot family. They are also known as groundhogs and whistle pigs because of the sounds they make through their large teeth to warn one another of danger.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.

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