CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Stocky, almost pear-shaped build
  • Approximately 5-10 inches long and weighs up to 2 pounds
  • Short ears
  • A short tail
  • Fur color similar to the soils in which they live in
  • Large front incisors
  • Wide, fur-lined cheek pouches for retrieving and transferring food

HABITAT:

  • Gophers can feed both above and below ground vegetation
  • A soil mound on the surface of the ground is proof of their existence
  • Burrows consist of a main tunnel and multiple lateral burrows
  • Mound-building activity usually peaks during the spring and fall

DIET:

  • Gophers are omnivores, but they love to eat vegetation!
  • Bulbs
  • Roots
  • Parts of plants, including the stem
  • Leaves
  • Certain vegetables like carrots, onions, garlic, and others with large, tuberous systems
  • Squash
  • Fruit
  • Grains

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DAMAGE:

  • Pocket gophers reduce the productivity of alfalfa fields and native grasslands.
  • Damage trees by eating roots
  • Destroy underground utility cables and irrigation pipes

CONTROL:

  • When selecting a damage-control program, consider nonlethal measures such as habitat modification or appropriate alfalfa varieties, which are equally as cost effective as lethal measures and should minimize adverse environmental impacts
  • Gophers are not protected by state or federal laws
  • Rotating alfalfa with grain crops effectively controls pocket gophers because annual grains do not produce large enough roots to support gophers year round
  • Flooding irrigation can create an inhospitably environment
  • Trapping is one of the best methods to reduce the amount of pocket gophers on small to moderate-sized fields (less than 50 acres)
  • Body-gripping traps are available from hardware and trapping supply stores and they work exceptionally well for capturing gophers
  • Traps can be set in the main tunnel or in a lateral, preferably near the freshest mounds
  • If using poison control, the animal's remains must be removed from property