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.
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.
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.
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