Gophers are often called pocket gophers because of their external cheek pouches that are lined with fur. They use these cheek pouches, or pockets, to carry the materials that they need for feeding or nesting. Gophers cause significant damage as they feed on plants and trees when they invade yards. They can also gnaw on wires and sprinkler systems. This is mainly due to their powerful ability to dig tunnels and create channels underground. Gophers are often confused with moles because of their habit of leaving behind frustrating mounds in yards.
The size of gophers will depend on the species but they range anywhere from 6 to 10 inches long. Also, depending on the species, the color of the gopher will be different. Most gophers are a yellowish brown or a tan color, but some species may even be black. The fur of gophers is fine and the hairs remain very short. Gophers are known to have very small, beady eyes. Also, although they possess ears, the ears of gophers are extremely small and do not protrude out of their heads which may help in differentiating it from mice or rats. Also, gophers possess facial whiskers that are very sensitive and will use it to alert it of changes that are made to its tunnel. For instance, if a person digs out the tunnel and the tunnel is open or wider than usual, the gopher will know from the surrounding changes that alert him through his whiskers. Gophers are also known for the powerfully built front portion of the body. Also, both feet and arms have heavy claws that are fit for digging, although the front claws are a little bit longer than the claws on the feet. They do have tails, but the tails of gophers are very short, thick and hairless. Another key physical characteristic that will help identify gophers are their teeth. Gophers have four large front teeth (2 on top and 2 on the bottom) that are made to gnaw through wires, feet on roots and plants, and cause other damage to the yards of residential areas.
Gophers live in burrow systems underground that can cover an area up to 2,000 square feet. The size of the tunnels range from 2.5 to 3.5 inches and are usually 6 to 12 inches below the surface. However, their nests and the chambers that they store their food in are as deep as 6 feet underground. Gophers remain active all year and do not have hibernating tendencies. It is said that gophers will spend around 95% of their entire lifespan underground and will only come up to check for food. Not only are they active all year long, but they can remain active all day. Typically, gophers are not social animals and will remain solitary except for during mating cycles or during the time period when females are looking after their young. Although gophers are solitary animals, there can be concentrations of about 16 to 20 gophers in one area.
Damage done by gophers can often times be stressful because they ruin the aesthetics of a yard or garden. They ruin gardens and yards when they invade because they feed on a variety of garden crops, vines, shrubs, trees, roots, and other ornamental plants. Just one gopher can create a large amount of damage in just a short amount of time. Gophers can also potentially cause soil erosion because they can dig tunnels through the ground and divert irrigation water. Not only do they feed on plants and other plant materials, but gophers are known to gnaw at and ultimately damage water lines that are made from plastic and also sprinkler systems.
Gophers often invade lawns, gardens, and flowerbeds. They feed on such plants like alfalfa, dandelions, stems and roots of flowers and trees, seeds, and will damage root vegetables like carrots, tubers and bulbs.
Gopher control is the most effective the sooner you find their presence. Control measures will typically consist of trapping or baiting. However, before any trapping or baiting takes place, it is the best to locate them underground by probing through their tunnels.
After the burrow is located, there are several ways a homeowner can kill gophers that have already invaded the yard or prevent future invasions.
Remember that gopher control may be tedious but it is important to remain patient when you are trying to get rid of an invasion. If there are any questions on products, feel free to contact a representative at Pest Mall via e-mail or phone at 1-800-788-4142.
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