Pocket gophers, also known simply as gophers, are burrowing rodents that spend most of their lives underground. They construct their burrows by digging a main tunnel up to 18 inches below the ground and then excavating a series of lateral tunnels that branch off from the main one. This keeps gophers protected as they forage for food and raise their young.

Their burrowing and tunneling activities, however, create headaches for property owners, as gopher burrows can feature up to 600 feet of tunnels marked by mounds of dirt that ruin the appearance of lawns and gardens. Gopher problems also arise when the rodents feed on garden crops, ornamental plants, shrubs, and trees.


Pocket gophers generally measure between 5 and 14 inches in length and weigh about a pound as adults. The medium-sized rodents have brownish fur and get their name from the pocket-like pouches in their cheeks, which they use to carry food and nesting materials. Gophers are built for burrowing and living underground, with long claws on their front feet, small eyes and ears, and sensitive whiskers that help with navigation. The sparsely furred tail of the pocket gopher is also highly sensitive and useful for guiding the burrowing rodent through the darkness of subterranean soil.

More information on what a gopher looks like.

Gophers vs moles

Gophers vs groundhogs


Gophers live in underground burrows. They prefer to make their burrows in areas of loose, sandy soil where the surrounding plant growth acts as both food and cover. Lawns and crop fields are therefore ideal nesting sites for pocket gophers. The pests show a particular fondness for alfalfa fields but will also dig burrows under cemeteries, golf courses, hayfields, and roadsides. They like to live alone except when raising their offspring, which are cared for exclusively by the mother.

Do gophers hibernate?


Are gophers known to enter homes or yards?
The tunneling activity of gophers frequently leads the pests to invade agricultural fields, gardens, and residential lawns. They feed on various plants, roots, shrubs, and trees. The most heavily infested areas can have a population density of 60 gophers or more per acre.

Gophers beneath homes.


Do gophers harm people or property?
Even though pocket gophers spend most of their time underground and out of sight, the damage they leave behind is highly visible and displeasing to the eye. Their extensive burrowing and tunneling can ruin lawns, while their feeding habits can result in the destruction of gardens and flowerbeds. Gophers also excavate mounds of soil when they burrow, which then become eyesores scattered around the yard. The pests sometimes damage water lines and sprinkler systems with their digging and gnawing, and their tunnels can disrupt the flow of irrigation water, which results in soil erosion.

Read more about gopher damage.

Gopher holes in yards

Control and Safety

Effective gopher control often involves the installation of underground barriers around gardens and other potential food sources. However, this prevention method can be expensive and labor-intensive. Safety must also be taken into account when attempting to implement control measures, as the pests may bite if handled.

Can they transmit diseases?

Trapping and Removal

To ensure the safe and humane removal of pocket gophers, owners of infested properties should take advantage of the professional pest control services offered by Critter Control. Highly trained and knowledgeable, Critter Control technicians know all about gopher removal and prevention. Our team of certified wildlife specialists can take care of gopher problems safely and professionally.

We can help you get rid of gopher problems.  Call today: 1.800.274.8837.