Like many other rodents, gophers can be a serious problem for a homeowner and orchard. Although they may look cute, the damage they cause may not be cute at all. These destructive rodents not only dig holes to build nests in open fields leaving unpleasant holes, they also eat and destroy crops and bonsai.
Therefore, for a gardener to face gophers, learning how to get rid of gophers is a top priority. However, gophers are not easy to deal with. The key to successful gophers removal is to understand how they work, and then devise appropriate methods. This article will help you gain a more comprehensive and detailed view of this rodent.
Table of Contents
- What do you know about gophers?
- The three main types of gophers are:
- What is the difference between Chipmunk and Gopher?
- How to get rid of gophers?
- Safe and natural method – How to get rid of gophers
- The lethal method – How to get rid of gophers
- How to trap gophers?
What do you know about gophers?
Gophers are familiar rodents, mainly living in North and Central America. This animal is often known for its habit of burrowing into unpleasant holes in the ground. The reason is called gopher because they have furry cheek pouches on the outside, look quite lovely.
Gophers are small mammals in the order that rodents belong to the squirrel family. On Earth there are about 40 animals. They vary in body size from 15 to 40 cm, in which the tail accounts for half the entire length. Colors range from green to purple, with different stripes or spots along the back. These rodents live in large colonies.
Gophers live like a family in burrows, the length varies from 5 to 20 meters depending on the type of soil. Each gopher digs his own hole to build his own house, in which females tend to dig deeper housing while the opposite is true for males. Usually, after hibernation, these animals occupy unoccupied shelters and gradually dig into them.
Gophers mainly live in North and Central America, particularly soft soil and sandy terrain to burrow. Gophers’ caves may contain many other tunnels and are quite long to avoid enemies.
Besides serving as a convenient escape route, it can also be used for food storage and nesting. Gophers can make tunnels as deep as several meters.
It is easy to spot the gopher’s whereabouts through those dug holes. When digging burrows, gophers will push the soil to the surface to form high and easily recognizable mounds.
#3 Types of gophers:
There are many types of gophers and you may not be able to distinguish them if you are not an expert. Luckily, however, we can divide them into three main groups based on their foot size, coat color, claws and incisors. Based on these characteristics, you can easily distinguish what type of gophers you are dealing with.
Unlike some other rodents, gophers are active and foraging and daytime, resting at night. They spend most of their lives in underground caves because that is where they can avoid danger from enemies and other agents.
Gophers dig themselves and they have the habit of burrowing anywhere and anytime if they feel dangerous. That is why your garden will be disturbed by them. Usually gophers also share their hag with other creatures if not harmful to them. Gophers sleep, eat and breed in caves.
They are fairly hardworking animals, are active throughout the year and do not have time to hibernate.
About gopher food, similar to many other rodents, gophers are herbivores and mostly plants. Especially the favorite food of gopher is tubers and roots of plants. Because of their ability to dig deep holes, they can easily take tubers and plant roots once in your garden. They can completely destroy your garden to fill your stomach and store those food in a cave.
Before pulling the whole plant into the cave to store, gophers will nibble until it is full with a significant amount of food.
Some species of this rodent, in addition to plant food, insects, frogs and other small animals can be captured. This diet allows gophers to accumulate brown fat, unique in that it only freezes at temperatures of -18 degrees.
Gopher does not hibernate but they will restrict activity to save energy. A gopher can live up to 3 years and only be attached to their mother for a few weeks. It must then begin with its new territory. When 1 year of age it will be able to reproduce and copulate. Gophers breeding season usually takes place in late winter and early spring.
Just like that the life cycle of gophers takes place within 3 years and almost no change.
An adult gopher can reproduce and copulate at 1 year of age. The number of spawning times a year depends on the water near their burrows. A mother gopher may give birth three times a year if there is ample water around the living area. Whereas if the cave area does not reach a certain humidity, they only give birth once a year. Each birth to 5-6 small gopher.
Gopher pregnancy time is about 1 month and after birth, the mother gopher will stay with the baby for only a few weeks. When the mother leaves, the gopher will have to be independent in the wild and burrow into a new house for themselves.
#8 The enemies:
Because the reproductive rate of a small gopher is very high and of high severity, this rodent does not belong to the protected species. However, the burrows of these animals are important because they are used by many of the animals listed in the Red Book
Scientists have noticed that the population has recently decreased, some species have disappeared completely. This happens because the climate is gradually changing. An important role has been played by soil farming with chemicals that negatively affect the survival of gopher species.
The small gopher is forced to confront big enemies: snakes, steppe eagles, looney, balabans, polecats and foxes. Usually, the wary rodents are first exactly the herring gull, then the fox and only then, the moon is swampy. The remaining enemies rarely raid.
The three main types of gophers are:
#1 Western Pocket Gophers (Thomomys)
These gophers only live in the Western Hemisphere and range from 4 to 13 inches depending on living conditions. Western Pocket Gophers have a variety of coat colors, from black to brown to white.
#2 Eastern Pocket Gophers (Geomys)
These gophers have quite distinctive appearance, they have grooves on the incisors and large claws. They have brown or near black fur. Eastern Pocket Gophers are larger than Western Pocket Gophers, about 7 – 15 inches.
These gophers are quite similar to Eastern Pocket Gophers, have large claws and feet, but are smaller in size, only from 5-7 inches. This species has an outstanding coat, from reddish brown to yellowish white.
What is the difference between Chipmunk and Gopher?
Many people often think that chipmunk and gopher belong to the same family but this is a misconception. The Gopher is a relatively large rodent and has brown or black fur, while the chipmunk is quite slender and the fur is mostly black.
Not only that, the difference between the two species is also reflected in how to burrow. While the gopher creates a deep cave characterized by tall dunes like a honeycomb, the chipmunk only digs a small hole. This may be partly explained by the size difference between the two species.
More specifically, the chipmunk is a small rodent native to Asia and North America. Their coat has distinctive features on the head, back and tail, often as a different colored mark. The fat legs and hairy tail are also recognizable differences. Chipmunk also digs their caves only about 10-30 feet long.
Chipmunk tends to be more active during dark and when the sun rises. They are hibernates, instead of storing fat, the chipmunk will store food in the cheek pocket. During that time, they will be as restrictive as possible and even look dead.
Chipmunk’s staple food is cereals, nuts and berries. They are omnivores and sometimes eat frogs, insects and eggs.
The mating and breeding season of chipmunk is in the spring.
The Gopher is a small rodent that mainly lives in North America and Central America. Unlike chipmunk, the gopher is larger and more rounded, has no pronounced neck and head. Their bodies were born to facilitate the excavation of soil, so they could dig caves of 200-2000 feet. Inside the cave will be divided into several tunnels to store food, reproduction and sanitation.
Gopher is mostly active during the day, spending most of its time in caves. Gopher also digs holes to find food like chipmunk but their holes are larger and longer so they can easily dig roots of plants. Gopher is herbivore so roots, fruits and tops are their favorite foods.
Gopher does not hibernate like chipmunk but they will limit activity in cold weather. Gopher winter food will be stored in the cave tunnels.
The gopher’s breeding season is late winter and early spring.
How to get rid of gophers?
Once you have the information about the opponent you need to deal with, getting rid of them is closer. There are many ways you can get rid of these pesky rodents, either by natural methods or methods that require more effort.
There are two ways to get rid of the gopher, which is deadly and non-lethal, and most people don’t want to harm the gopher. However, we also need stronger measures to get rid of the t
Safe and natural method – How to get rid of gophers
#1 Using sound piles:
The easiest and safest way for both people and gopher is to use negative stakes to keep the gopher out of your garden. Sound piles are inserted deep into the ground, creating unpleasant sounds that gopher – animals living mainly underground will not be able to move that to another place.
Moreover, these sound piles often use batteries to operate, do not need complicated installation or use dangerous electricity, so they are very safe.
This is a great option that you do not need to hurt the gopher’s life or affect family members and pets. However, these sound piles are definitely not the most economical solution to dealing with gopher.
Another natural option that is quite simple is to use predators to eliminate gopher, such as owls. Owls are famous gopher hunters and they are also a safe choice to repel gopher. However, a little more complicated is that you have to find a way to attract natural owls to your garden. This may seem impossible for households in the city, but rural households or farms should apply this method to eliminate gopher most naturally.
An owl in the tree with great vision and quick movement will help you keep an eye out for all gopher destructive activities. Nothing can stop the owl from naturally ignoring a lucrative prey like the gopher.
#3 Wild cat:
Besides wild cats is also a great help for you to remove the naughty gopher out of your garden. Wild cats are often hungry, so their hunting instincts are more advanced. Getting a stray cat to protect the garden is also a safe and economical solution that you should consider.
Cats have a passion for hunting hairy rodents. Gestures and senses turn wild cats into gopher hunters in your garden. Gopher is an animal that is mainly active during the day so they will not dare to wander into your garden if there is a sharp wild cat watching.
What’s more, the amount of food you have to feed a cat is definitely not a problem if it is able to solve your problems.
The lethal method – How to get rid of gophers
Using gases, poisons and traps are the three methods of eliminating lethal gopher. In particular, using poison is the most dangerous method and is not recommended.
A lot of people choose to use poison to get rid of gophers. Although using toxins is a very effective means of controlling gopher, it is also a very dangerous method, affecting the environment and the surrounding creatures. Some common gopher poisons are:
Strychnine: This is the most common poison and is considered by many to be the most effective for removing gopher. Not only does this poison kill the gopher, it can also kill any creature that eats it or comes in contact with the poisoned gopher. Besides, it also affects the ecosystem around the toxic area. So if you are planning to use strychnine as a gopher weapon, you should be extremely careful when using it.
Zinc phosphide: This is also a fairly common poison after strychnine used to kill gopher. It also has the effect of killing the gopher once eating poisonous seafood and also has certain effects on the surrounding environment. When using this substance, absolutely do not put it in children’s confines.
Clorophacinone (RoZol): This is the least effective poison of the three types and also causes less serious effects on the ecosystem. Clorophacinone is 10 times less effective than strychnine and zinc phosphide. When goher ingested this poison, it will take some time for the poison to take effect and take down the gopher.
Once you decide to use a poison, you must accept the risks and dangers. The safest measure is to use gopher’s poison in the cave to avoid affecting non-target organisms in the area.
Or you can turn to experts for help by searching for ‘gopher control near me’ on the internet to find the nearest and safest service. Do not use poison to kill gopher yourself if you do not know all the necessary information and safety measures when using.
Killing gophers with propane is a complex method to remove gopher. To do this method, you need to insert gas pipes into gopher’s cave. The propane will cause the animal to suffocate and die later. However, you must make sure there are no holes in the cave to be successful. This method seems to take a lot of time and effort because you cannot tell if there are gopher in the cave and whether there is any opening in the cave.
The plus point of this method is that it is not as dangerous as the method of using poison. It has less impact on the surrounding ecosystem and less on human health.
Gopher traps are a more common and safer method to eliminate gophers. Currently on the market there are many types of gophers trap with diverse materials and designs such as black box gopher trap or gopher hawk trap . You can choose to live catch trap or pliers trap (killing gopher) with reasonable price.
When setting gopher traps you should also pay a little attention to avoid reducing the effectiveness of the trap the first time you use it. Traps can be used both in active and inactive gopher caves because gopher tends to expand their area. You can also place traps on surfaces close to abundant food areas.
The number of traps is also important to note. A trap will never be as effective as multiple traps that work together. Place multiple traps around holes you can find to increase effectiveness.
Traps bait are also not a big problem with this herbivore.
How to trap gophers?
For a gopher-like rodent, the bait doesn’t seem to be a big deal. You can use berries, nuts, tubers or fruits as bait to gopher. However, some do not seem to be attracted by that small amount of food.
To solve this case, choosing poison bait is the first choice of many people. However, this is a less recommended method because it can be dangerous for other creatures when ingested. It is even dangerous for other predators if they ingest the poisoned gopher.
So you need to immediately identify your situation to choose the most suitable bait type.
#2 Trap placement:
Traps should be set in new areas. You can also set traps where the gopher has dug, but the odds of them returning will not be as big as the new mounds. Traps should only be set in the gopher’s cave while the cave is still active.
The next day before you set the trap, flatten all previous mounds with a shovel to lure the gopher back to the land.
#3 Tips for setting traps:
Whether you use live catch or kill traps, here are a few tips to get the most out of it.
Use long wires to poke holes and mounds to determine if gopher lives in it. If so, place traps right in the driveway and in the opposite direction to block the gopher’s exit. If not, fill the hole to create a new plane.
Gopher is so smart that you should move traps daily to increase the success rate. If a trap doesn’t work within 24 hours, it means it’s just a decoration on the lawn.
Gopher can dig many other tunnels from its cave so do not think they will only have one passage. So you should prepare a few other traps around its cave area to increase the success rate.
To protect yourself from the negative effects of a dead gopher, use gloves and a mask when you dispose of it and clean exposed equipment.
It is very easy to spot a gopher that exists in your garden with tall dunes and deep holes, but it is not that simple to deal with. Getting information about gopher is the first thing you should do to start the war with it. Once you have started this war, you should equip yourself with the knowledge to make weapons to get rid of gopher from your life.