Pocket Gophers

Pocket Gopher by Tooth and Nail
Pocket Gopher by Tooth and Nail (Photo credit: USFWS Pacific)


Pocket gophers have dark brown fur, large heads, powerful necks, very short tails, and very large, broad front feet with enlarged claws, which they use in combination with their teeth; to dig and push mounds of soil to the surface. They are approximately the size of a small rat, and can reach 10 inches in length. Because this rodent uses it’s two exterior, fur-lined cheek pouches to carry food materials, it has earned the name Pocket gopher.

The Pocket gopher is a vegetarian, and feeds primarily on plant roots and tubers. Pocket gophers often cause pest control problems in yards and gardens, by feeding upon garden crops, ornamental plants, vines, shrubs, and trees. A single gopher, moving down a garden row, can create considerable damage; in a very short period of time. As well, Gophers have been known to gnaw and damage plastic water lines and lawn sprinkler systems.

Pocket gophers are subterranean, burrowing rodents who live a lifestyle of digging and tunneling. This pest only spends time above ground, when the young leave their mother’s burrow, or when a male seeks a female for mating. Except in these two situations, pocket gophers are intensely solitary animals, living in extensive burrows that can extend from 200 to 2,000 square feet.

Texas Pocket Gopher (Geomys personatus)
Texas Pocket Gopher (Geomys personatus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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