Know Your Gopher

While the Macabee trap is sold to the western United States, there are gopher species to be found all over North America, including the eastern US and Central America.  There are five gopher species common to California, with Botta’s pocket gopher as the most common of those five.  Pocket gophers get their name from the furry cheek pockets that they use to carry food or materials for building a nest.  These pockets can even be turned inside out.

Gophers can be active both day and night and they don’t hibernate, meaning they’ve got lots of time to keep eating. Even though they’re vegetarians, the pocket gopher eats 60% of its bodyweight each day including roots, bulbs, plants, grass, and even small trees.

A gopher ranges up to 700 yards from its nest by digging 2 ½ to 3 ½ inch tunnels using their long teeth and their front claws.  They use their back legs to push dirt behind them, creating tell-tale mounds of dirt.  When it comes to moving around your dirt and damaging your property, in a year one pocket gopher can dig a tunnel system with up to 200 yards of tunnel and move up to 2 ¼ tons of dirt. Also, they can run backwards as quickly as they can move forward.

Apart from Macabee traps, gopher predators include: snakes, owls, coyotes, and weasels.

Pocket gophers are classified by The California Fish and Game Code as nongame mammals. This means if you own property and you find pocket gophers hurting your crops or landscaping then you can control them however you see fit (as long as it is legal).

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