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Pocket Gophers

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Family Geomyidae


Pocket gophers are medium-sized rodents from the family Geomyidae. There are varied species of pocket gophers. They range from about 15 to 35 cm in length. Their fur varies in color from black to brown to nearly white and is very soft. The pocket gopher got its name from the fur-lined pouches outside its mouth. These pouches are typically used for food transport.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Pocket gophers are skilled burrowers and well-designed for their subterranean lifestyle. They have a short neck and powerful forequarters with large claws on the front paws. Their heads are small and flattened with small ears and eyes and lips which close behind the large incisors.

Pocket gophers are able to burrow in lawns and gardens. The tunnels can range from a few inches to a few feet in depth and several hundred feet in length. A unique aspect of the pocket gopher’s burrow is the horseshoe-shaped mound at the surface (moles construct volcano-shaped mounds at the surface of their tunnels). Pocket gophers are most active during the spring and fall when soil is primed for digging. These are solitary creatures that tend to be social only during mating season and child rearing.


Biology does vary slightly, based on the species of pocket gopher. As an example, some have only a single litter of offspring each year, while others can have three to four. The average size of a litter is three to four. Young pocket gophers typically leave the family unit in late summer to early fall and establish their own territories.

Signs of a Pocket Gopher Infestation

The burrowing activity of pocket gophers is the most noticeable sign.

More Information

Control of these furry little pests can be challenging. It’s recommended you contact a pest control professional for a full evaluation prior to any involved control efforts.