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Are Ground Squirrels & Gophers the Same Thing?


Question: 
Are  Ground Squirrels and a Gophers the same burrowing rodent?

Answer:
It depends upon who you ask.

It's common for people in Canada, Montana, and Minnesota refer to ground squirrels as "gophers."  Technically, they are wrong, but what matters is that is that the person they are communicating with uses the same term. 

Some others, think that ground squirrels and gophers are the same digging critter or they truly have no idea what they are dealing with and they call them the first word that comes to mind. Often that word or words are not fit to print - especially if the burrowing rodents are causing extensive damage and their holes are a safety hazard.

Ground squirrels and Gophers actually fairly easy to tell apart. The Gopher is chunkier with beady eyes, small ears, and buck teeth. The Ground Squirrel is sleeker with larger eyes, perky ears, and their front teeth don't dominate their face. 
GOPHER


Gophers are underground eaters and love plant roots. Although sometimes they eat above ground.
Ground Squirrels usually forage above ground, eating food producing plants, ornamentals and at times, insects and eggs.

Gophers are nocturnal and can be above ground at night.
Ground Squirrels are diurnal and are above ground during the day.

Gophers have crescent shaped plugged holes. When they dig the push the dirt behind them. In fact, they often leave mounds of dirt throughout an area.
Ground Squirrels do not hide their holes - they do not plug the top. They excavate the excess dirt and pack the sides as they tunnel. 

Unfortunately, both Ground Squirrels' and Gophers' burrows can cause extensive damage to athletic fields and pastures. People, horses and cattle trip in these holes and can be severely injured.
Burrow Blocker Ground Squirrel Control
GOPHER HOLE
Burrow Blocker Ground Squirrel Control
GROUND SQUIRREL HOLE
Gophers are solitary animals and can have up to a 2000 ft. territory.
Ground Squirrels live in colonies that can consist of several dozen animals.

For detailed information on ground squirrels and gophers, visit the following UC Davis, IPM sites:
Gophers
Ground Squirrels

Both of these burrowing rodents can be extremely destructive. Please contact me or visit the Burrow Blocker website, if you'd like to learn more about these diggers and ways to control them.

Quick quiz: What's the name of the burrowing rodent at the top of the page?

~Lisa

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