Gophers, also known as pocket gophers, are small rodents best known for their creation of complex underground tunnel systems. There are about 35 species of gophers, but there is much debate about which pocket gophers are actually full species. Just to confuse the situation even more, only the “pocket gophers” are true gophers, but there are also some ground squirrels that are sometimes called gophers as well. Gophers are usually brown and the average size is about 230 grams (0.5 lbs) and about 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) long. Let’s find out where these rodents come from and learn more about their habitat.
Where do gophers live?
Generally, gophers are found in parts of Central and North America. Each group of gopher lives in different areas. The following guide is a basic overview of where these groups live:
- The species in the Cratogeomys family can be found in parts of Texas and northern Mexico.
- Eastern pocket gophers are mostly found in the southwestern region of the United States.
- Giant pocket gophers (Taltuzas) are found in Mexico, central American and into Colombia.
- The family Pappogeomys is found in Mexico.
- Western pocket gophers are found across a large portion of North America, including parts of Canada.
- The Michoacan pocket gopher is the only member of the Zygogeomys family and it is found in Mexico.
Most species of gophers build extensive tunnel systems which they use for protection and to find food. Amazingly these animals are mostly solitary and usually create a tunnel system and burrow for their own use. They will make burrows in any areas where soil is soft and can be easily tunnelled. This is one of the reasons that they like farm land, lawns and vegetable gardens, and is the reason that they are sometimes considered pests.
Did you know?
“The Gopher State” is the nickname given to Minnesota. The University of Minnesota sporting teams are known as the Golden Gophers!