Gopher or Prairie Dog?

It can be hard to distinguish the difference between prairie dogs and gophers. Both are small rodents that enjoy digging in yards. However, there are some differences in their habits and appearance. Look for these visual cues:

  • Fur - Prairie dogs have coarse, light brown fur with white or black accents. Gophers, on the other hand, have smooth, pliable fur. It can be dark brown, yellow-brown, or gray in color.
  • Claws - While prairie dogs use their short, muscular legs for digging, the front paws of a gopher are equipped with long claws.
  • Teeth - Gophers have large, visible front teeth that help them loosen dirt, rocks, and roots. Prairie dogs have much smaller, less noticeable incisors.

Prairie Dog vs. Gopher Activity

Homeowners who spot an animal in the yard can also observe the pest's habits and behavior to determine whether it's a prairie dog or a gopher.

Prairie dogs are active during the day and spend plenty of time above ground. As such, the pests are easy to spot. They are also social animals, living with others in connected burrows.

Gopher sightings are much rarer. These rodents stay in their tunnels during most of the day and are solitary except during mating season.

Identifying Gopher or Prairie Dog Damage

Prairie dogs mostly eat grass, but will also consume flowering, leafy plants and roots. Gophers will also eat trees, which is the main difference between the prairie dog and gopher diet.

The feeding habits of both animals can cause issues in the yard. Subterranean burrows created by a gopher or prairie dog make the ground hazardous to walk on. Prairie dogs may also strip bark from trees, while gophers eat roots.

Prairie Dog Dangers

While both pests pose problems, prairie dogs are a greater threat to humans. One key reason is that they can carry plague-infected fleas.

Additionally, while gopher mounds have closed entrances, prairie dog burrows are open and often house other animals like rattlesnakes and black widow spiders.

Controlling Conflicts

When comparing problems caused by prairie dogs and gophers, it is clear that both are a concern for residents.

Modifying yards to be less appealing to the pests can help, but this is costly and time-consuming. The specialists at Critter Control have the training to remove nuisance wildlife safely and efficiently.

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Customer Reviews

Kirk D.
It has been very effective at reducing the number of mice, lizard, and snake sightings. During one visit Edgar removed a rattlesnake he came across. We may see a snake maybe two to three times during the spring and summer months, but it has been far less than before.

Serivces: Wildlife & Rodent Control in San Diego
Robert B.
Full service. Excellent job of extracting raccoon, cleaning all animal waste, sanitizing, and spraying anti-parasitic substance. They closed all potential ports of entry, though the work did not match the vinyl, and it looks kind of tacky. They added blown insulation, which added a lot to the cost. They provide a one year warranty against animal intrusion, with an option to extend the warranty at the end of each one- year period. They were willing to work with me one the price. I will probably extend my warranty, and will definitely use them it the future.
Gene F.
I was really impressed by these guys. Got a call within a few hours of making an inquiry. Had a rep out to inspect the situation by the end of the week, and when they laid out the timeline they kept if not exceeded listed times.

Rob, Travis, and Jim were all professional, polite, and courteous and after months of hearing squirrels in my ceiling they are gone and the repair to my flashing looks excellent. Can't recommend these guys enough.
Bob I.

Jeff was incredibly professional and helpful. I'll use them again and would recommend them to anyone.
-Detroit, MI
Richard L.

Critter Control did a great job of evaluating our house for sites of entry after we found bats and a squirrel in our attic. They completed their work promptly and professionally.
-Seattle, WA
Kenneth H.
We heard some noise from the corner of our house. Concerned that it could be inside we called for an inspection. Jessy arrived as scheduled and conducted a complete inspection of our home. Based on a recording we made he determined we had a tree frog on our roof. I was pleased that we didn’t have any rodent in our house. And his inspection could a few spots I can tighten up around my house. I am very happy with the outcome.
-New Hampshire
Lee F.
We have a vacation home in Western Mass and haven’t been there much during the pandemic as we live and work in Atlanta, GA. On our most recent visit we noticed that we had some rodent intrusion as well as some un-welcomed wildlife who decided to make our vacation home their home.

We contacted Critter Control and Mr. Cahoon was quick to set up an appointment as we wouldn’t be in town very long. He came out and assessed our issues. He informed us of our options to both eradicate and control future intrusions. Keeping in mind that wildlife is wildlife! He quickly got to work eradicating the rodents and wildlife from our home and addressing the intrusion issues. We feel much better leaving our vacation home for periods at a time knowing that Mr. Cahoon and Critter Control did their job and did it right! Thanks again!
Mary L.
We bought an old cabin last spring , it was used for years as a summer vacation cabin, therefore maintenance wasn’t a priority. After our project to remodel started, we found evidence of mice droppings.

We immediately called Critter Control and they came and gave us a reasonable estimate to remove all remnants and insulation. They sanitized and replaced with new insulation and sealing up points of entry .

Seeing their professional work made us feel confident and secure that the problem was solved ! Everyone we worked with continued to show professional and respectful work. Highly recommend this company! We continue to use critter control monthly to be sure we are mice and bug free!


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