What's the Difference Between Gophers and Groundhogs?

As both are small, brown, burrowing rodents, the gopher and groundhog are easily confused for each other. In fact, because these pests live in overlapping regions of the U.S., it is possible that homeowners will struggle with identifying one or both. Despite their similarities, gophers and groundhogs belong to two different classes of rodents. Gophers are much smaller than groundhogs, weighing about 2 and 12 pounds, respectively. Homeowners are most likely to actually observe groundhogs, as gophers spend very little time aboveground.

Problems with Gophers vs. Groundhogs

While the pests' food sources are similar, gophers feed on mostly roots and tubers. Even one can quickly mow down an entire garden row, leaving vegetation on the surface intact while destroying plants from below. Since groundhogs spend more time on the surface, they are more likely the cause of damage to leaves, bark, or fruits. Still, both pests create problems when they burrow. This behavior is particularly damaging in agricultural fields, but can also ruin lawn care machinery, create tripping hazards, and leave unattractive holes, dirt piles, and ridges in yards.

Removing Burrowing Pests

To prevent groundhogs or gophers from getting in the yard, many people use special fencing that extends about 12 inches below ground in an L shape. Because installation is work-intensive, this method is most practical in small areas like gardens. For a more straightforward approach, certain methods may be implemented directly into burrows to address the problem at the source. No matter which pest is wrecking the yard, the proper response is the same for a gopher or groundhog infestation. Contact Critter Control for efficient and hassle-free removal.