Gophers are funny-looking little rodents that live in burrows. The gophers are burrowing rodents. Gophers are endemic to North and Central America. Gophers are especially frustrating because they live underground and it is impossible to follow them to their den. They are masters at tunneling and if even a couple of them move into the yard they quickly can undermine your gardening efforts quite literally. They are similar to rats in their coloring, but you can tell the gopher apart from the rat by its short tail.
Gophers are fairly small, around half a pound and 6-8 inches long. They like loose, moist soil, like the soil you carefully primed for your lawn and garden. Powerfully built in the forequarters, their front feet have long, sharp claws. Gophers have brownish soft fur, large cheek pouches and flattened heads with small ears and eyes. Their hairy tails are about four inches long and are used to navigate through tunnels when moving backwards.
Gophers mean no harm to human beings, they can certainly leave you frustrated, especially if you’re a gardener who takes pride in their work. They can pull all of your beautiful plants and flowers underground with them within seconds considering that they eat all types of plants. Not only can they ruin all of your hard work, but they can often damage underground electrical lines and pipes with their out of control digging.
Once they get started, they create an elaborate network of tunnels, where they store the food they hoard. They carry food to their hoards by stuffing it in their cheek pouches. Unlike ground squirrels, gophers do not live in large communities and seldom find themselves above ground. It is not uncommon for gopher tunnels to interfere with irrigation systems, dams, fields and, of course, homeowners’ lawns and gardens.
Pocket gophers are solitary outside of the breeding season, aggressively maintaining territories that vary in size depending on the resources available
Let us look at some pieces of evidence caused due to gopher
Gopher tunnels run gamut from nuisance to dangerous
Jul 20, 2012, Idaho State Journal
On July 6, nearly a dozen dirt mounds began forming in the backyard of Fred Dykes’ home on Wayne Avenue, near Alameda Road in Pocatello.
The mounds are about a foot in diameter and six inches tall.
“The piles of dirt conceal little tunnel entrances that run through my yard now,” Dykes said.
Tunnels concealed by mounds, Dykes concluded, can only mean one thing — gophers.
“I have lived at 946 Wayne for 48 years now,” he said, “and for the first time, gophers have invaded my yard.”
Wayne used a small garden shovel on Friday to remove one of the dirt mounds contributing to the mini earthen obstacle course now visible from his kitchen window.
But the tunnels and mounds in Dykes’ yard serve as a minor example of the havoc gophers can wreak on various forms of terrain.
Authorities in Melba, Idaho, said Thursday that a woman died after her car fell into a sinkhole created by irrigation water running through gopher tunnels beneath the road.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that a “section of roadway 15 feet wide and 40 feet long collapsed on Saturday, killing 32-year-old Sonia Lopez of Melba.”
Alberta farmers’ fields overrun by gophers
July 29, 2016, The star.com
“It felt like you were walking on gophers all the time,” said Somerville from his 4,000-acre farm.
The ground squirrels (gophers) dig networks of tunnels and holes under farmers’ crops and ranchers’ pastures, leaving mounds of dirt and large sections of acreage razed. They eat the growth for protection, so they can see around them.
A boom in the gopher population causes grief for farmers and ranchers because of chewed crops and damage to equipment the mounds can cause.
The conventional methods used to get rid of the pests include traps, fumigants, rodenticides is no longer considered to be an ineffective solution to get rid of the rodent infestation as these rodents are becoming increasingly resistant to them. Also fumigation is a tedious, time consuming and an expensive method and is highly toxic. Exposure to such chemicals for a long time can cause damage to lungs, nervous system and even paralysis in severe cases.
They play a major role in the ecosystem. By creating the tunnels that they dig they combine fecal wastes and plant elements to improve the fertility of your soil. As a result, new soil is formed quicker due to the minerals that they bring to the surface.
A method is needed to repel these pests without killing. How can that be achieved?
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