Do Gophers Carry & Transmit Rabies?

As they're common yard pests, gophers often cause people to wonder if they can carry rabies. While they are capable of carrying the disease, it's rare for a human to get rabies from contact with a gopher. This is because the pests rarely come above ground, and when they do, they prefer not to stray far from their burrow holes. In fact, gophers are so timid and easily frightened that they seldom interact with humans or any other animal.

Rabies Risks & Symptoms

Although it's rare for gophers to spread rabies, homeowners should still be aware of the risks and the symptoms of the disease. Rabies is a viral infection that causes swelling of the brain, resulting in death. The disease can spread to humans through the bite or saliva of an infected gopher. Shortly after exposure, people will experience flu-like symptoms including headache, sore throat, fever, and restlessness. Individuals should also note that gophers can carry hantavirus, leptospirosis, and tularemia in addition to rabies.

Keeping Gophers at Bay

First and foremost, people should never try to feed or touch a gopher. Though these pests rarely approach humans, their saliva can be enough to transmit rabies. Preventative measures include putting gardens and ornamental plants in raised beds or burying hardware mesh up to 18 inches deep around them. The best way to deal with infestations when they do occur is to contact the professionals at Critter Control for safe removal of gophers.