Pocket Gophers


Pocket Gopher

Pocket gopher (Ian Silvernail, Wikimedia Commons)

Pocket Gopher

Pocket gopher mounds (USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)

Pocket Gopher

Pocket gopher burrow entrance (Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University, Bugwood.org)


  • 6 – 13 inches long
  • light brown to brownish-black fur
  • short, hairless tails
  • incisor teeth always visible

Nesting Habits

  • construct underground burrows and leave fan-shaped mounds of excavated soil at the surface
  • active year-round
  • usually only one individual per tunnel system except during mating season or when females have offpsring


  • prefer dandelion roots, alfalfa, grasses, shrubs, roots and trees


  • damage lawns, gardens and agricultural fields
  • damage underground utility cables and irrigation pipes
  • harm trees by stripping bark and chewing on roots

IPM Recommendations

  • Trap pocket gophers using two-pronged pincer traps in lateral burrows and closed box-style traps in main burrows.
  • Surround trees and shrubs with 3/8-inch hardware cloth.
  • Consider flood irrigation to help control gopher populations, if applicable.
  • Bait larger populations by placing bait directly into burrows.
  • Monitor problem areas to assure trapping and baiting were successful and to quickly control new populations.
  • Carefully read and follow the pesticide label when using rodenticides.