What Are Gophers and Why Are They So Destructive?

Welcome back to the Gopher Patrol blog! If you’re like most, you are probably most familiar with the cute yet troublesome gopher who graced the silver screen in the 1980 classic film, Caddyshack. Unfortunately for those living in Southern California, you are probably even more familiar with them as backyard pests who wreak havoc on your yard, causing a lot of gopher damage. Fortunately, Gopher Patrol is the go-to pest control team who can get rid of these pesky rodents from your yard for good. In today’s post, we would like to explore gophers in greater detail to inform our clients and readers about what exactly these critters are, and why they cause so much destruction to yards in Southern California. Please continue reading below to learn more.

What Are Gophers?

Gophers are a common rodent found in regions across North America with more than 35 species spanning the continent. The pocket gopher is the most common gopher species common in areas of the American Southwest, including Southern California. Gophers are burrowing rodents of the Geomyidae family and best known for their extensive tunneling. These stocky creatures generally weigh under one pound, but some can weigh as much as two pounds. They are usually about six to ten inches long. Male gophers are typically double the size of females. Gophers typically only breed once during springtime and produce litters with three to four pups. Pocket gophers may live up to five years, with typical lifespans of two to three years. Here are some of their characteristic features:  

  • Brown fur that resembles the soil in which they live.
  • Tiny ears, beady eyes, and large, bushy whiskers sprouting from their stout snout.
  • Two large protruding teeth on the top and bottom of their mouth.
  • Large cheek pockets, hence the name “pocket” gopher, which can be turned inside out and extend from the sides of their mouth to the shoulders.
  • Long claws on their paws used for tunneling.

Why Are They So Destructive to Yards and Properties?

Gophers, as we’ve mentioned, are tunneling rodents who build their habitats underground in typically dry, arid regions. Gophers create these networks of tunnel systems using their teeth and claws to dig in order to provide protection and to find food. They are notorious hoarders and store their food in their burrows. The most common sign of a gopher tunnel can be identified by the small mounds of dirt that form the entrances to their tunnels, which lead to their burrows. Gophers love to eat plant roots, nuts, berries, and veggies like carrots, radishes, and lettuce. Their diet draws them to backyards, gardens, farms, and areas with loose soil and lots of vegetation. Their tunnel systems allow them to stay out of site from such predators as hawks, owls, snakes, coyotes, and other threats, while also allowing them to easily access their food supplies.

Have A Gopher Problem?

If gophers have made your yard in Santa Barbara their home, call in the experts at Gopher Patrol! We use the most effective methods for removing these destructive pests from your property and offer monthly service gopher control service plans. Give us a call today and take back your yard with our pest control services.