Welcome back to the Gopher Patrol blog. In our last post, “How to Gopher-Proof Your Home,” we offered tips and tricks for protecting your yard and property from those furry, burrowing, buck-toothed, backyard-loving rodents. Gophers are pervasive rodent species commonly found here in San Diego and throughout Southern California. While you may be familiar with their name, you might not be as familiar with these facts about gophers. In today’s post, we will share some interesting tidbits about these rodents to help residents living in our region gain a better understanding of these critters, which may be able to help you prevent them from invading your yard. Should you experience a gopher problem, the experienced team at Gopher Patrol offers Top Rated Local® gopher control in San Diego, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Riverside, and beyond! In the meantime, check out these fun facts about gophers.

Four Interesting Facts About Gophers

Five Gopher Species In California

Out of the 34 total gopher species, there are five common species of gophers here in Southern California. The most common species in SoCal is the Botta’s pocket gopher. The pocket gopher is characterized by its ever-exposed incisors and its fur-lined cheek pouches located on the outside of the mouth on both sides of their face. These pockets can carry a lot of food and can even turn inside out to carry extra loads of food. In fact, the pockets are so big that they extend from their mouth to their shoulders, allowing them to transport a lot of food.

Identifying Features

While we’re on the topic of their features, all species of gophers look similar to each other. They have large incisors for chewing roots and other tough vegetation, which also helps them create their tunnel systems. Along with their teeth, gophers have long, sharp claws to help them dig their way through yards, open spaces, fields, agricultural sites, pastures, and other areas. Their claws also help them fit lots of food into their cheek pockets so they can transfer hefty food supplies to their burrows. Gophers move forward and backward when traveling underground. Their hairy tails help them navigate backward. Gophers can scurry in any direction quickly and navigate through tunnels with ease.   

What They Eat

Gophers are herbivores, which means they love munching on all kinds of vegetation — especially the kind found in residential gardens. Gophers eat a lot; 60 percent of their own body weight, in fact. Gophers eat everything from roots, forbs, herbaceous plants, shrubs, grasses, and trees, to ornamental plants and flowers found in a garden. In general, though, they prefer to eat roots and tubers of a variety of plants.

While gophers typically eat in their underground burrows, you might see them poke their heads out of a small hole near vegetation for an easily accessible snack. They typically grab a nearby plant and use their claws and strength to rip it out of the ground and drag the whole thing into their burrow for a cozy meal and safekeeping for any leftovers. They can store their food stockpiles upwards of six-feet below ground, keeping it safe from other prying critters that might try to steal their food.   

Gopher Behaviors

Gophers are territorial solitary creatures, yet just one gopher can devastate your yard. In fact, just one gopher alone can move about a ton of soil in as little as one year. While gophers can severely destroy your yard, in natural environments — such as open spaces and protected lands — gophers actually help aerate the soil each year. Why is that? Well, gophers are burrowing rodents — or fossorial rodents (underground dwellers) — that move through tunnel systems they create underneath the surface of yards and other areas. They do everything underground, including eat, sleep, mate, and have babies. They are typically more active during the day when it’s warm, and less active at night when the temperatures drop. Even though we mentioned that they are not very social, oftentimes, they will share their burrows with other creatures.

Gophers do not hibernate, and because they are active during all seasons, they pose a year-round threat for residents and businesses here in Southern California.

Call Us For A Gopher Removal

If you have a gopher problem, you’ll want to take care of it right away. Gophers are incredibly destructive and can tear up your yard quickly. Rather than trying to trap and remove these critters on your own, call Gopher Patrol! We have nearly two decades of experience in safely and humanely removing gophers from your property. Along with gopher removal services, we offer monthly service plans to remove gophers and prevent them from coming back. Call us today or visit our site to schedule an appointment for a Top Rated Local® gopher removal in San Diego.  

Be sure to find out more about our other services, including pest control, rodent control, mosquito control, termite control, and more!