Gophers present a more serious problem than moles, including destruction of underground utility cables, water lines, sprinkler systems and irrigation pipes. Damage is most severe in the spring and fall when gophers are active near the soil’s surface.
Pocket gophers are rodents from 5 to 14 inches long. Pocket gophers have fur-lined pouches outside of the mouth, one on each side of the face. These pockets, which are capable of being turned inside out, are used for carrying food. Their fur ranges black to light brown and white. Pocket gophers heads are small and flattened, with small ears and eyes.
Gophers are solitary animals except when breeding or rearing young. Gophers are active year round, but are the most visibly active in the spring and fall when the soil is of the ideal moisture content for digging.
Mound and Runways
Gophers are extremely well adapted and built for an underground existence. The gopher lives most of its life beneath the surface where it digs a burrow system. A gopher can create large, horseshoe-shaped mounds that may cause damage to passing farm equipment. Additionally, its tunnels often interfere with irrigation systems, dams, fields, and homeowners’ gardens. Gopher underground burrows can be very deep, up to several feet, and several hundred feet in length. As gophers dig burrows, pushing the soil to the surface, they leave a mound, usually in a fan shaped. Moles leave a conical shape.
Gophers can create up to 70 mounds per month in ideal soil. Gopher tunnels are larger in diameter and deeper than those of moles but are much less extensive. And, unlike Mole tunnels, Gopher tunnels are usually not visible on the ground surface due to their deeper location. Another symptom of a Gopher infestation is to observe damage to roots, tree bark, seeds, bulbs and other plant parts in yards or farms.