Gophers and Gopher Control
Gophers certainly make themselves known when they come into your yard. You might catch a glimpse of their large, yellow teeth. And if you aren’t careful where you step, you may twist your ankle as a soft patch above their tunnel gives way. Here’s what you should know about gophers and how OMNIS can help you with gopher control.
True gophers, called pocket gophers, are burrowing rodents that make tunnels in the soil. Colorado gophers can range in size from 8 to 12 inches long and weigh between 4 and 11 ounces. Their fur varies from light brown to black, depending on where they live in the state.
Gophers are herbivores. They eat tubers, roots, stems, shrubs, and other vegetation they can access from their underground tunnels. But occasionally, they poke their head out of a feeding hole to munch on the tops of plants. Gophers have limited vision, though they aren’t entirely blind. So, they find their food by their sense of excellent sense of smell.
These rodents live most of their lives underground, and that’s where they sleep and birth their offspring. Breeding time for gophers is in the spring. After a 3- to 4-week gestation period, they deliver one to ten tiny pink hairless baby gophers. Gophers aren’t social creatures, but they sometimes share their dens with other animals.
Gophers’ bodies have the perfect design for digging. They have sharp claws, strong limbs, and they can close their lips around those four large incisors to keep dirt out of their mouth as they burrow. There are four kinds of gophers who make their home in Colorado.
Gophers live underground, but what kind of soil they prefer depends on the type of gopher. Some gophers like sandy, salty soil. But others prefer shallow gravel or thinner or drier soils.
Gopher holes have closed entrances, making them easy to distinguish from prairie dog or ground squirrel holes. And their tunnels are about three inches in diameter, more or less, and up to 200 yards long. You’ll find their tunnels under about 4 to 16 inches of topsoil.
Why Gophers Are Bad
Gophers do provide a few benefits. They bring minerals to the surface, aerate the soil, and make it less compact. But a gopher is considered a pest for a few excellent reasons.
Gophers dig up lawns, gardens, and fields.
A single gopher can move up to one ton of dirt every year. That means whether gophers dig in your lawn, garden, or field, they rearrange the earth, often in ways, you don’t like. The soil above the tunnels is soft and ready to fall through the minute you step on it. Besides that, gophers chew on your trees, shrubs, and flowers, destroying your landscaping.
Gophers damage pipes and utility lines.
Gophers often tear up anything buried underground. It could be your water pipes, irrigation or sprinkler system, or buried cable or fiber lines. And that’s not only a nuisance, but it can also put a crimp in your budget.
Having gophers in your field can reduce your crop yield.
Gophers can reduce crop yield in alfalfa fields by 20 percent or even up to 50 percent. Also, gopher mounds damage sickle bars during the harvest. But it isn’t just farms that feel the pinch. Home gardeners often discover gophers have eaten up most of their prized vegetables.
Gophers carry unwanted pests and germs.
Gophers, like most other rodents, carry viruses, bacteria, ticks, and fleas. So, they present both a danger and a nuisance to kids and pets.
Pest Threat Level
Gopher Threat Level 2/10
Gophers don’t hurt people or pets – at least not directly. But a gopher carries pests like ticks and fleas that get on your pets and children. And, stepping in the wrong spot can result in a painful injury. Also, gophers harm your property, making unsightly mounds and soft spots in your lawn, damaging pipes and cables underground, and chewing up trees and landscaping. And if you run a lawnmower over one of their tunnels, you may need to repair or replace it. If you find a gopher in your yard, the best thing you can do to prevent damage is to call an expert at OMNIS Pest Control. Our professional pest control team will assess the problem and find the right removal solution. More about How To Identify Gopher Damage.