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Wildlife Education - A Directory of Qualified Gopher Removal Professionals

How to Get Rid of Gophers



It is my goal to educate the public about gophers and other wildlife, and provide tips for safe, effective, and responsible wildlife removal.

HUMANE HINTS: I have to be honest - it's hard to perform humane gopher removal. They won't enter live cage traps, to be relocated. There are no good repellents or fencing to keep them at bay. Most gopher control methods involve lethal means.

If you need gopher help, click on my Nationwide List of Gopher Removal Experts for a pro near you.

How to Get Rid of Gophers In Your Garden and Yard - Gophers are subterranean rodents, otherwise called vermin that can wreak havoc on your lawn, garden or crops. These critters are very small, rarely growing up to a foot long, and have coats that come in a variety of colors but are commonly a tan/brown color with a white underbelly. They have four small paws, large incisors and big puffy cheeks. However, you will most likely see the damage they leave behind rather than seeing one firsthand because they are reclusive and do not like to mess with other animals. They are active during all parts of the day and hibernate during the colder winter months.

However, what makes gophers such a nuisance is their diet and their digging. Gophers are omnivores and love to eat fruit, vegetables, roots and seeds. They have a weird sixth sense for finding your garden and eating all the vegetables/fruit or destroying the plant from underneath by eating all the plant roots. You can imagine how annoying they can be for farmers and people who get the majority of their food from their personal garden. They are also a pest by the tunnels that they dig underground which can leave holes in your lawn and kill your grass. If you have gopher problems, you probably want to know how to get rid of them as soon as possible. Here are the most common and effective ways for getting rid of gophers:
  • Poison is a common way to get rid of gophers but it can be dangerous. While poisoning these critters is effective, if you have other animals outside that you do not want to accidentally eat the poison or eat a poisoned gopher, maybe you should consider another method. Strychnine is the most common poison used.
  • Trapping gophers is a bit more humane than poisoning them, but it is tedious and frustrating. Make sure to wash the trap right before you set it with some dish soap to wash the human scent off; then wear latex gloves when you set the trap. Put the trap inside the tunnel or on the outside of the tunnel and disguise it with leaves. You can use live traps or lethal traps.
  • Drown them or smoke them out of the tunnels. You can use a garden hose and place it inside the tunnel and turn it on full blast. Hardware and garden stores also sell gopher flares that work really well. However, you need to fill in the tunnels after you do this so that they do not come back.
  • Releasing non-venomous snakes is a great way to get rid of gophers, if you don’t mind the snakes. One snake can clear out more than an acre of gophers over a period of several months, especially if you release them into the tunnel. If you have a really big gopher problem, then it is recommended to release at least two snakes. Once the gophers are gone, the snakes will leave your property in search of food.
  • Building a fence is the most expensive, but the most effective way of keeping gophers out of your yard and garden. The easiest way to do this is to bury a wire mesh fence at least a foot underground that sticks a few inches above ground to ensure that they cannot burrow or climb over it.
  • Hiring a professional pest removal service is the cheapest and is a hassle-free way to get rid of gophers. Pest removers know exactly what to do and have the tools and chemicals required when dealing with and removing the bodies of the gophers. This is not the cheapest way to go about it, but it works.
More in-detail how-to gopher removal articles:
Information about gopher trapping - analysis and methods for how to trap.
Information about how to kill a gopher - with poison or other methods.
Information about how to keep gophers away - prevention techniques.
Information about how to catch a gopher - remove one stuck in the house.
Information about gopher repellent - analysis of types and effectiveness.

Gopher Information & Facts

Gopher Appearance: The word gopher is used to describe several species of rodents. These rodents are all burrowers living in North America, but the term is most often synonymous with prairie dogs. All gophers are small mammals, yet are larger than many other rodents. They can grow to be over twelve inches in length and can weigh up to a pound. The dominant fur color is tan, though the specific hue can vary depending on the species and location. With long bodies and short, powerful limbs, the gopher is an excellent tunnel maker. Some species are identified by the color on the tip of their short, thin tail. Gophers have small ears, almond-shaped eyes, and the scissor-like teeth characteristic of most rodents.

Gopher Habitat and Behavior: Rodents that are considered gophers are very social and live in communities that can number into the thousands. These gopher towns generally occupy the mid-western prairies as well as the mountain valleys further north in the country. Within the community further grouping is done on the family level. Family groups live in private burrow sections of the established town and usually have one or two breeding males, three or more females, and a number of offspring. Any females born into a family will remain with that group for life. Male offspring will remain in the same community, but must find a new family group to take over or to be allowed into. Some breeding males have too many females and will allow a subordinate male into the group. Gophers are often affectionate with one another if a paternal bond is present.

Gopher communities can span over one hundred acres of land. These areas have well defined borders that coincide with a surface barrier like a road, fence, or line of trees.

Young in the community are cared for in communal nursing burrows. A female will often nurse offspring that are not her own. At five months of age, the gophers are considered adults.

Because of the complex infrastructure of the community, communication between members is crucial. The tone of a gopher call can relay such complex information as the type of predator, how fast it is moving, and where it is emerging from. Calls are made by sentry animals standing in the entrances to perimeter burrows.

Gopher Diet: Insects make up a small portion of a gopher’s diet. The rodent is primarily herbivorous. They feed on roots, grasses, flowering weeds, cacti, and fruit. During the winter, small caches of snow are used for water consumption.

Gopher Nuisance Concerns: The extensive network of burrows in a gopher city can be of concern for farmers and expanding construction businesses. Gopher holes can seriously injure large ruminants. Commercial farm equipment is exceptionally heavy and can break through burrows near the surface, immobilizing the machine or damaging parts. Any structures unknowingly built on a gopher community may be structurally compromised.

Gopher Diseases: The gopher population is shy around humans and other animals and for that reason, zoonotic disease transmission is rare. The potential for illness exists, and from time to time, gophers have been the primary disease vector for certain sicknesses. Monkeypox, a viral disease not native to North America, was detected in gophers in 2003. This illness was reserved to pet prairie dogs. The animals became infected through contact with rats aboard a vessel from overseas. Aside from that one minor outbreak, monkeypox is not true concern in the gopher population. LCMV, a virus transmitted from rodents to people, can be carried by gophers and is spread through contact with infected urine. Leptospirosis, Hantavirus, and plague can all be carried by this rodent. Despite the potential for disease, most states with gopher populations maintain that little to no zoonotic concerns exist.

You're here to learn how to get rid of gophers in your garden or lawn. This site is intended to provide gopher education and information, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a gopher problem. This site provides many gopher control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of gopher removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance gopher.

© 2001-2014     Website content & photos by Trapper David     Feel free to email me with questions: david@wildlifeanimalcontrol.com