Often misidentified as moles, pocket gophers are tiny, burrowing rodents that love feeding on roots, grass, and bulbs. In their cheeks, gophers have fur-lined pockets to store food, resulting in their name. Other rodents also possess this feature, but for gophers, their pouches open on the outside.
In the United States, there are 13 species of gophers. These pests are popular because they love feeding on gardens and landscaping. Gophers tunnel underground, causing mounds of dirt to form on the surface. The holes they create also provide an entry point for other animals and insects.
Gophers may resemble other vermin or other members of the order Rodentia. However, they have some unique features that distinguish them from other burrowing animals.
Size and shape
Gophers are small to medium-sized rodents. They have stout bodies with small eyes and ears and short legs. Their tails are usually as long as their bodies—Gophers measure about 6 to 10 inches long, including their long, adorable tail at their backs.
Gophers come in a variety of colors depending on the species. Some gophers are brown, gray, or black. Others have coats that are tan, reddish, or cream-colored.
All gophers have fur coats that are soft and thick. This helps protect them from the cold weather underground and predators.
Gophers have long, furry tails that are usually half the length of their bodies. Their tails are not prehensile, meaning they can’t grab things with them. Instead, gophers use their tails for balance while running and climbing. Besides, gopher tails have no significant purpose tailored to their underground lifestyle.
Most of the time, gophers stay inside their tunnels. But you may see them at the entrance of their burrow systems when they’re eating. You may also see them when they set themselves to mate with other rodents.
Gophers are generally solitary creatures but live in family groups when they’re young. Once they reach adulthood, gophers leave their family and establish their tunnels and territories.
When gophers are born, they are blind and naked. Their eyes open after about two weeks, and their fur grows after about three weeks. Baby gophers are weaned after about a month but stay with their parents until they’re around six weeks old. After that, they leave to establish their territories.
What Makes a Gopher Different From a Mole
Moles are also small, burrowing animals that love feeding on gardens and landscaping. However, there are several critical differences between gophers and moles.
The most obvious difference is the head and snouts. Moles have long, pointed snouts to shovel soil and insects into their mouths. Gophers, on the other hand, have normal snouts similar to other rodents.
Gophers and moles do not belong to the same family. The gopher species belong to the family Geomyidae, while moles belong to the family Talpidae.
Diet also becomes a huge difference for both of these animals. Gophers eat roots, grass, and bulbs, making them strict herbivores. On the other hand, moles are insectivores that eat insects, earthworms, and grubs.
How Are Gopher Tunnels Different From Mole Tunnels?
Tunneling is one of the most common activities for both gophers and moles. These animals use their powerful claws and strong bodies to create underground burrows. While both animals are proficient diggers, there are distinct differences in the types of tunnels they make.
The main difference between these two animals’ tunneling is the purpose of the tunnels. Gophers use their tunnels for traveling, storing food, and raising young. Moles, on the other hand, use their tunnels to find food.
Another difference is the size of their tunnel entrances. A gopher hole entrance is usually much larger than a mole tunnel entrance. This is because gophers need to bring their food into their tunnels, while moles eat their food in their tunnels.
The location of the tunnels is also different for these animals. Gopher tunnels are found underground, while mole tunnels are located just below the ground’s surface. Lastly, a gopher mound appears kidney-shaped, while a molehill appears oval-shaped.
What Do Gopher Tunnels Look Like Underground?
An adult gopher can dig gopher holes, usually about 2 to 4 inches in diameter. These tunnel systems have smooth walls and are round in shape. Their tunnel system can be pervasive, with some systems containing over 2 miles of tunnels! The main tunnel is usually about 18 inches below the ground’s surface, with side tunnels branching off from the main tunnel.
The main tunnel is used as a travel way for the gopher, while the side tunnels are used for storing food and raising young.
Problem and Damage Cause by Gopher
Gophers are notorious for their damage to gardens and landscaping. These animals love to eat roots, grass, and bulbs. This can be a huge problem for gardeners and farmers who rely on these plants for their livelihoods.
Gopher damage is also evident in the havoc they bring to infrastructures. These animals dig tunnels that can collapse buildings, sidewalks, and roads. In addition, their tunnels can damage sewers, sprinkler systems, and water lines.
Gophers Droppings Look Like
Gopher droppings are small, tubular-shaped, and coated in a sticky substance. This substance helps the gopher to keep their food fresh while it is stored in their tunnels. Their droppings may host viruses and diseases like salmonella and hantavirus.
How To Get Rid of Gophers?
Gophers can annoy the most out of homes. They may cause an unsightly mound of dirt to your lawn, yard, or garden. Gophers are not welcome in many places because they may damage crops, plants, trees, and gardens.
Aside from this, gophers are also known to carry diseases. This includes hantavirus and salmonella. These diseases may be harmful and even deadly to humans. This is why getting rid of them should be done as soon as possible.
There are several things you can do to get rid of gophers. The most common method is using traps to remove them from your property. You can also use commercial deterrent products such as gas cartridges, smoke bombs, and sprays.
The best way to prevent gopher damage is to take preventive measures. These animals are attracted to areas with loose, soft soil. You can add wire mesh or fencing around your property to deter them. You should also keep your lawn well-groomed and free of debris.
Out of all these ways, calling wildlife removal services will always be your turn-key solution. We at AAAC Wildlife Removal will do this for you! While other companies do not typically handle insect problems, our team can do it for you. Call us if you encounter bed bugs, termites, ants, rodents (mice or rats), spiders, cockroaches, fleas, general bugs, or anything!
Need Help With Gopher Infestation? Call Us Now!
Gophers can cause a lot of damage to your property and pose a severe health risk to you and your family. If you experience gopher infestation, taking care of the problem as soon as possible is essential.
Our team of experts at AAAC Wildlife Removal will develop a customized plan to get rid of your gopher problems quickly and efficiently. We use the latest methods and equipment to manage gophers efficiently.
We specialize in more than gopher control. If you need help dealing with other unwelcome guests like raccoons, snakes, or bats, we can help with that too!
The pocket gopher may resemble other members of rodents, but they possess specific characteristics that make them distinct and stand out from all the other animals.
Gophers are tiny, burrowing rodents that look like a cross between a mouse and a groundhog. They have short legs, long bodies, and large front teeth. Their fur is usually brown or gray, and they have a white underside.
While gophers can be a nuisance to gardeners, farmers, and homeowners, they’re exciting animals. And if you ever encounter them inside your house, make sure to inflict no harm. Instead, let them be and observe from a distance while you wait for a pest control service.
To learn more about the appearance and fascinating characteristics of gophers, click here: gopher appearance.