While some might enjoy the sight of furry rodents, the pocket gopher is a nuisance that many homeowners have suffered from. Pocket gophers are named after their cheek pouches, or pocket, that they stuff with food while foraging. And they eat a lot. More like a hamster than a rat, pocket gophers can do a lot of damage to lawns and gardens, as they dig endless tunnels and make their dens in locations with plentiful food and water sources.

Interestingly, pocket gophers are both a bane and a benefit to farmers. Pocket gophers love eating roots and gritty vegetation. Alfalfa, a favorite food for pocket gophers, makes them very dangerous to producers of grain. Conversely, gophers are very beneficial to ranchers, as the tunnels pocket gophers dig provide aeration for grazing fields. The disadvantages of a pocket gopher infestation outweigh the advantages, however, as gophers rapidly reproduce and can cause a lot of damage. Even worse, a lot of other critters like snakes and insects make their homes inside deserted gopher tunnels, which can create additional problems.

What are the signs of a pocket gopher infestation?

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Many people mistake pocket gophers for moles and voles due to their close physical features. Unlike moles and rats, gophers are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day. Pocket gophers rarely appear above ground, spending most of their lives in burrows, but evidence of their activity is unmistakable.

  • The main signs of damage from pocket gophers include mounds of soil (with no apparent hole), eskers (solid tubes of soil) above ground when the snow melts in the spring, and suddenly wilting plantar (due to root damage). If you walk across an area inhabited by pocket gophers, your foot will frequently break through into their tunnels. The tunnels are usually 2.5–3.5” in diameter and are usually found in the top 4–18” of soil.
  • Gophers are generally solitary by nature, quickly reproducing and then sending their young out to dig their own burrows.
  • A single gopher can produce a tunnel system that covers 200 to 10,000 square feet. Much of the displaced dirt is deposited on the surface as identifiable mounds of dark soil.
  • Pocket gophers search for areas underground where they can find protection. You can see the protruding soil from these tunnels along fence lines, under bushes, and beneath the roots of trees.

While gophers are not particularly dangerous to humans or pets, the main difficulty in getting rid of gophers is their ability to hide. Their tunnels are readily apparent, but their numbers are often not.

Choose Nature’s Balance for pocket gopher pest control

Just like trying to exterminate mice and rats, it can be hard for homeowners to solve their gopher problems permanently. That’s where Nature’s Balance Pest Control comes in. Give us a call today and schedule an inspection to rid your property of gophers.


Call 435-246-7083 to speak with a professional.

For a free consultation, call or email us today.