Dormancy

    Pocket Gophers

    Geomyidae

    Pocket Gopher

    Pocket gopher (Ian Silvernail, Wikimedia Commons)

    Pocket Gopher mounds

    Pocket gopher mounds (USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)

    Gopher Burrow

    Gopher burrow entrance (Ryan Davis, Utah State University Extension)

    Identification

    • 6 – 13 inches long
    • light brown to brownish-black fur
    • short, hairless tails
    • incisor teeth always visible in front of mouth

    Nesting Habits

    • construct underground burrows and leave fan-shaped mounds of excavated soil at the surface with a soil plug in the middle of the fan
    • active year round
    • usually only one individual per tunnel system except during mating season or when females have offspring

    Diet

    • prefer dandelion roots, alfalfa, grasses, shrubs, roots and trees

    Significance

    • damage lawns, gardens, sports and agricultural fields
    • damage underground utility cables and irrigation pipes
    • harm trees by stripping bark and chewing on roots

    IPM Recommendations

    • Trap pocket gophers using two-pronged pincer traps in lateral burrows and closed box-style traps in main burrows.
    • Surround trees and shrubs with 3/8-inch hardware cloth.
    • Consider flood irrigation to help control gopher populations, if applicable.
    • Bait larger populations by placing bait directly into burrows using a probe applicator.
    • Monitor problem areas to assure trapping and baiting were successful and to quickly control new populations.