Salt Lake City's Helpful Gopher Control Guide

Gopher in a burrow in a residential yard

Pocket gophers are burrowing rodents. Utah has two species of gophers: The Northern pocket gopher Thomomys talpoides), and the Botta’s pocket gopher (Thomomys bottae). The Northern pocket gopher lives in the Salt Lake City area.

What Do Gophers Look Like?

Pocket gophers have broad heads. Their eyes and ears are small. They are called “pocket” gophers because they have an external pocket on each side of the jaw where they stuff food to carry back to their tunnels.

Pocket gophers are light brown to almost black. They are about 6-13 inches long, including the short, hairless tail. You can see their front teeth even when their mouth is closed. These teeth grow constantly so the pocket gopher must gnaw constantly to keep them short.

Pocket gophers dig tunnels to live in and raise their young. They are solitary except during mating season and when raising their pups. Once done mating, the father moves on, leaving the mother to bring up the pups. There is usually one main tunnel where the animal lives and many lateral tunnels. These tunnels have small mounds beside them and a soil plug in them. When the gopher is done with the tunnels, she fills them up to the main tunnel. The whole tunnel complex may range as far as an acre.

Pocket gophers breed in the spring. A female gopher mates the spring after her birth. They have anywhere from 1-13 pups, with 3-4 being average. Pups are born with their eyes and ears sealed. They are also hairless, pink, and wrinkled. Their eyes and ears open at five weeks, they are weaned at six weeks. They usually leave the nest and find a spot of their own when half-grown.

The Problems Gophers Cause 

Gophers tunnel under the ground looking for food. These tunnels are near the surface. They can damage lawns, gardens, and sports and athletic fields. Gophers can also damage underground cables, irrigation, and other things buried in the ground. 
Their tunnels can collapse when a person or animal steps in them, possibly causing an injury. They can damage machines when a garden tractor or other machinery puts a wheel into them. Depending on what machinery fell into the tunnels, it can be damaged severely. 
Gophers love alfalfa and dandelion roots. This causes problems for farmers who grow alfalfa when gophers eat it before it is harvested. Gophers will eat roots, stems, bulbs, and tubers. That makes them a problem in the lawn and garden.

Preventing Gophers 

Gophers are hard to prevent. A mesh hardware cloth ring around ornamental and fruit trees can prevent damage. The mesh must be buried 18 inches below the surface and should be at least two feet above the ground. You can also circle this wire around your garden, again burying it 18 inches in the ground.

Getting Rid Of Gophers 

Getting rid of gophers is hard. You have to set traps for them and set different traps depending on whether it is the main tunnel or a lateral tunnel. Don’t make things hard. Call Pest Pro Pest Control instead. When we receive your call, we will send one of our wildlife control technicians out. The technician will inspect your property to determine if the problems are indeed caused by gophers. They will also work to determine how many gophers are there, and where the main tunnel and lateral tunnels are. 
Once we determine the scope of the problem, we will develop a plan to remove the animals. We set traps in the main tunnel and lateral tunnels. We return to empty and reset the traps as needed. Call Pest Pro Pest Control today to schedule your inspection.

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