Gophers or “Pocket Gophers”, so named because of their cheek pouches used to carry food, are the ultimate underground creatures. They have strong forelegs, flat heads and short necks- perfect for digging and burrowing. Gophers are medium-sized rodents with very soft fur that ranges in color from black to light brown to almost white. They range in length from 5 to 14 inches.
Gophers can be identified easily by the horseshoe-shaped mounds of dirt found near the opening of their burrows. These burrows, which are up to several hundred feet in length, can destroy lawns and gardens. The burrows are usually built underground at a depth of a few inches to several feet. Gophers and moles do similar damage to lawns but volcano-shaped dirt mounds identify mole burrows.
Gophers are fairly solitary and remain underground burrowing except to breed or raise their young. They have usually 1-2 litters per year of 3-4 young depending on the portion of the country they inhabit. In late summer and early fall, the younger gophers leave the burrow to seek out mates to begin their own families.
Gophers are herbivores and can do serious damage from underground to roots, bulbs and plants. An average gopher consumes 60 percent of its body weight per day, which can be devastating to yards and gardens.
One effective way to control gophers is through trapping. Home remedies, such as using certain sounds or repellant plants have not been shown to work effectively. Gophers will also detect any poisonous gases and block off areas of their tunnels to protect themselves. There are a number of ways to set the traps so that the gophers will be caught unharmed in their burrows. This can be done easily with the help of a pest control professional.