Gopher Facts

Gopher Facts
Gopher is small rodent that belongs to the family Geomyidae. There are 35 species of gopher that can be found in the North and Central America. Gopher inhabits woodlands, prairies, coastal areas and mountains. It prefers areas with soft, moist soil. Gopher is classified as pest in rural and urban areas because it produces significant damage in the gardens, fields, dams and banks. Most species of gopher are numerous and widespread in their native habitats. Desert pocket gopher occupies small, restricted area in the wild and its future is uncertain due to habitat loss.
Interesting Gopher Facts:
Gopher can reach 5 to 12 inches in length and around 8 ounces of weight. Males are much larger than females.
Gopher has short grey, yellowish-brown or dark brown fur.
Gopher has flattened head, very long front (upper and lower) teeth that are always exposed, small eyes and ears, broad forepaws with long claws and short, hairy tail which facilitates navigation when it moves backwards.
Gopher has large cheek pouches lined with fur which it uses to carry food and nesting material. That's why it is also known as "pocket gopher".
Gopher is active both during the day and night. It spends most of its life under the ground.
Gopher is vegetarian. Its diet is based on roots, tuber, bulbs, shrubs, berries, nuts and grass. Insects, grubs and earthworms are occasionally on the menu. Gopher has huge appetite. Daily intake of food is equal to 60% of its body weight.
Gopher is solitary creature.
Gopher occupies territory of around 700 yards and builds complex underground system of tunnels using its teeth and claws on the front feet.
Gopher digs tunnels that can be close to the surface (main tunnel is usually 18 inches below the surface of the ground), or very deep (nesting chamber is usually on a depth of 6 feet).
Gopher does not hibernate during the winter. It collects and stores food in the underground burrows before the winter and uses it during the coldest part of the year.
Even though marked as pest, gopher is extremely valuable for other plants and animals that live under the ground. Process of digging increases oxygen content in the substrate, exposes valuable minerals and increases fertility of the soil.
Natural enemies of gophers are owls, hawks, coyotes, weasels and snakes.
Mating season of gophers takes place during the spring.
Pregnancy lasts 18 to 19 days and ends with 3 to 4 babies. Female produces one or two litters per year. Babies are blind and helpless at birth, but they grow quickly and become ready for the independent life at the age of 5 weeks. Young gophers reach sexual maturity at the age of 6 to 12 months.
Gopher can survive 2 to 3 years (rarely up to 5) in the wild.

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