How Big Are Pocket Gophers?
Pocket gophers are the size of a small rat and can reach 10 inches in length.
How Do Pocket Gophers Look Like?
They have dark brown fur, very short tails, and very large, broad front feet with enlarged claws.
What Do Pocket Gophers Eat?
They are vegetarians, feeding primarily on plant roots and tubers. Pocket gophers often invade yards and gardens, and feed on many garden crops, ornamental plants, vines, shrubs, and trees. A single gopher moving down a garden row can inflict considerable damage in a very short time.
What Do Pocket Gophers Do?
Pocket gophers are so named because they use two exterior, fur-lined cheek pouches to carry food materials. They have large heads, powerful necks and short tails. Pocket gophers are subterranean, burrowing rodents who live a digging and tunneling lifestyle. Their burrows can cover an area from 200 to 2,000 square feet. They dig with their teeth and front legs and push mounds of soil to the surface from below. These mounds have a horseshoe shape with a plug of fresher looking soil in the arc. The gopher pushes dirt out of the burrow onto the expanding horseshoe, plugging the hole with fresh soil each time it goes back underground.
How Do Pocket Gophers Reproduce?
Pocket gophers reach sexual maturity at about one year of age and can live up to three years. Females produce one to three litters per year. In non-irrigated areas, breeding usually occurs in late winter and early spring, resulting in one litter per year, whereas in irrigated areas, up to three litters per year may be produced. Litters usually average five to six young.
Interesting Facts About Pocket Gophers:
Pocket gophers only spend time above ground when young leave their mother's burrow system or when males seek females for mating. Except for these two situations, pocket gophers are intensely solitary animals. Gophers gnaw and damage plastic water lines and lawn sprinkler systems. Their tunnels can divert and carry off irrigation water and lead to soil erosion.