We live in a heavily wooded area with a heavily wooded bluff off our back yard. Wildlife is abundant here, including groundhogs. Until we installed cams to watch wildlife I’d never witnessed the shedding process of groundhogs (or any wildlife).

I’m wondering if the shedding process causes itching, as I’ve seen one scratch on occasion?

  • I don't know about groundhogs, but cats, dogs, squirrels, moose, all scratch a lot. I think any furred, feathered, or haired animal scratches. Possibly they (and we) are all shedding to some extent all the time. I wonder if snakes do an equivalent of scratching by rubbing themselves against a frictional surface. – ab2 May 8 at 23:06

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: Yes, but that's not the only likely cause of itching in animals. There are parasites like lice, chiggers, fleas, mosquitoes, mites (mange) etc. that can all cause itching too. In addition, fungal skin infections tend to be itchy. In general you should avoid the areas where you see itching animals as they may be shedding parasites like mites and fleas.

There are also spontaneous itches (as you will likely have experienced yourself - a random itch on your arm for instance).

  • 2
    Another cause of itching: reading lists of things that cause itching. – csk May 8 at 15:40
  • Off topic - For people who love being outdoors enjoying nature and wilderness, and learning about the required skills and equipment. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. – user20551 May 11 at 2:07
  • @GBG I fail to see how questions about animal behaviour observed in the wild are off-topic for an outdoors forum. Sure, the question might be better suited to a different SE, but I think it is perfectly on-topic here especially as animal behaviour is one topic specifically mentioned in the on-topic list – bob1 May 11 at 2:10
  • @bob1 I don't see animal health or behavior in this list but I do see Outdoor animals/pests in the house or yard listed at contentious. outdoors.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1025/… – user20551 May 11 at 4:10
  • @GBG second to last bullet point in my link: bird & animal watching and behaviour – bob1 May 11 at 4:52

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