How Big is a Gopher?

image of a gopher

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about gophers. And, I’m sure you know them for the strange holes in your yard or garden. Gopher mammals are small, furry, and burrowing rodents. They exist throughout North America and Central America.

Gophers are originally pocket gophers. This is because they own external fur-lined cheek pouches or pockets which they use to store food. Their fur-lined cheeks interestingly go all the way to their shoulders. This feature helps them keep food as they make lengthy travels from one location to another.

These mammals have different species, but only a few know how big they can generally get. Read more to find out the growth of these burrowing rodents!

How big a gopher can get?

If you compare them to other rodents, pocket gophers are medium-sized rodents. They are bigger than mice but smaller than rats. Mice measure about 2 to 4 inches long, while rats measure about 5 to 7 inches. In contrast, pocket gophers can grow up to 14 inches in length.

The average height and weight of a gopher

Gophers are 6 to 10 inches long on average, weighing around 0.5 to 1 pound or more. The body of a gopher is small, while its head and legs are relatively larger. This will depend on their species, though. Some species tend to be bigger, and some tend to be smaller. But, this is the normal gopher’s length.

There are 41 known species of gophers, which are endemic to North and Central America. Some of the smallest ones are identified as Baird’s pocket gopher. The largest one is the Camas pocket gopher or Thomomys bulbivorus.

These creatures have whiskers, small eyes, and small ears almost hidden by their fur. Their tails are also short, measuring only 1 to 4 inches.

Despite their size, gophers can dig complicated burrow systems. They use their paws and teeth to create these underground systems, which can be as long as 600 feet!

How did they get so big?

You may be wondering how these creatures got so big. Well, their size is due to the fact that gopher activity involves burrowing. Their large build helps them create and maintain underground gopher holes and burrows.

Gophers are also herbivores, meaning their diet consists mainly of plants. They eat a variety of plant materials, including roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. Their diet helps them maintain their size and energy to continue burrowing.

The Biggest Species among Three

As discussed, there are roughly 41 species of pocket gophers. They are grouped under different genera, such as the Cratogeomys, Geomys, Heterogeomys, Orthogeomys, Pappogeomys, Zygogeomys, and Thomomys.

Several species are housed under the mentioned genus. But, only some develop prevalence when it comes to size. So, if you may ask, what is the biggest pocket gopher? 

The Pocket Gopher

The Pocket Gopher is one of the largest gophers. They reach an average length of 13 to 15 inches, including their tail. They also weigh around 0.5 to 1 pound or more. Pocket Gophers are commonly found in North America.

The pocket gopher has a small head and legs with short fur covering its body. They also have prominent incisors that they use for gnawing and digging. Their claws are also sharp, which helps them burrow and create gopher tunnels.

Plains Pocket Gopher

The Plains Pocket Gopher is the largest species of gopher. They can grow up to 16 inches in length, including their tail. They also weigh around 1 to 1.5 pounds.

These species are brown to gray, soil-colored if you will. They have larger claws which make them equipped for digging mole mounds. And, similar to typical gophers, they have small eyes, ears, and adorably tiny tails.

Botta’s Pocket Gopher

The Botta’s Pocket Gopher is another giant gopher. These species have a softer, smoother, short fur that varies from gray, brown, and black in coloration. The males under these species are specifically larger than the female gophers.

These rodents may inhabit chaparral, scrubland, agricultural land, woodland, and grass prairies. But, they have limited environments they can live. This includes rocky terrains, major rivers, and barren deserts.

More Gopher Knowledge!

Aside from the list of large gophers above, there are other common gophers that you may stumble upon. This includes Western pocket gophers, giant pocket gophers, and eastern pocket gophers. 

These rodents are all solitary animals and are popular for making gopher tunnel systems and gopher mounds. Fortunately, these small mammals are not extinct and are not threatened species.

Gophers, in general, can move quickly through the ground. Their burrow system results in a mound of dirt that can sometimes intersect with irrigation systems. The diameter of these holes ranges from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches.

Need Help With Gopher Problem? Call Us Now!

The gopher population may be small, but they can cause big problems. Their burrowing habits can damage your gardens and lawns. They may destroy your plants and even your precious vegetables.

If you have these pests on your property, don’t hesitate to call AAAC Wildlife Removal now! We will help you get rid of these pesky creatures in no time.

Final Thoughts

Gophers are small to medium-sized rodents that are known for their burrowing habits. They can grow up to 16 inches and 1.5 pounds in weight. There are 41 pocket gopher species, which are grouped under different genera.

Among the different species, for sure, some develop prevalence and uniqueness. This may be because of their size, behavior, or unique characteristics. The largest pocket gopher is the Plains Pocket Gopher, while one of the smallest is the Baird’s.

Now you know how big a gopher can be! These creatures may be small, but they’re mighty. Their burrowing abilities allow them to create intricate underground systems essential for survival. 

So, the next time you see a gopher, take a moment to appreciate its size and strength. And if you ever have a gopher problem, don’t hesitate to call AAAC Wildlife Removal for assistance!

FAQs

What are the gopher’s predators?

Some predators of gophers include weasels, snakes, badgers, skunks, owls, and coyotes.

What do baby gophers look like?

Baby gophers are tiny and weigh around 0.5 ounces at birth. They are pink in color and are born blind but will open after 3 to 4 weeks. Their fur is also thin and delicate at first but will gradually become thicker and coarser.

What do gophers eat?

Gophers are herbivores and primarily eat plants. This includes roots, leaves, stems, grasses, and seeds. Gophers specifically love carrots, and they are also feeding on insects occasionally.

Are moles and gophers the same?

No, moles and gophers are not the same. Gophers are rodents, while moles are insectivorous mammals. Moles also have different physical features than gophers. They have dark velvet fur, a long muzzle, and tiny eyes. These eyes are hidden under their slightly thick fur, while on the other hand, gopher eyes are small but still visible.

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