They are approximately 8 to 123⁄4 inches in length, including the tail. Thriving in sandy and silt soil types, plains pocket gophers are light to dark brown in color on the upper portions of their bodies with buff colored underbellies. Pocket Gopher damage includes chewing of any underground lines including electric, water and septic piping. Gopher mounds cover surface vegetation, thus incorporating sometimes over 50 percent of surface plant material into the soil. Their bodies, sporting powerful front legs and large claws for digging, are designed for an underground existence. These are the "true" gophers, but several ground squirrels in the distantly related family Sciuridae are often called "gophers", as well. The action of gophers in the soil are beneficial for both plant and animal communities. Hist. Ran gelands 1(1), February 1979 - 3 Plains Pocket Gophers More Than A Nuisance J. Stubbendieck, Ronald Case, Kathie J. Kjar, and Michael A. Remarks : Predators of the plains pocket gopher are those that can gain entrance to the tunnels such as weasels and snakes, or those capable of digging into the ground like badgers, foxes, and coyotes. Their fur is typically brown but may vary to black. Habitat Modification There are many predators that hunt them. The edges of the toes are fringed with hairs that assist in digging and handling dirt. Pocket gophers are specially adapted for subterranean life and they use their poickets for transporting food underground (Reid 236). Kansas Mus. Their tunnels permit deeper penetration of air and water into the soil. Habits:   The plains pocket gopher is more highly specialized for digging than any other North American rodent and lives underground for practically its entire life. Grain baits, such as corn, oats, wheat, and grain sorghum are readily eaten in some localities and often give better results in fall when pocket gophers are storing much of their food. Maximum longevity of this mammal is generally less than five years. Predators of the porcupine include: eagles, wolves and the great-horned owl. The hair is short, dense, and glossy, and the skin is rather loose. NORTHERN POCKET GOPHER. Their tunnels permit deeper penetration of air and water into the soil. Whitish hairs cover the tops of the feet. Return to the Mammals of Kansas index page. The plains pocket gopher does not hibernate. Males are larger than females, but they are colored alike. As with most predator-prey relationships, predators seem to have only a cropping effect on the prey populations. Ord's Kangaroo Rat. Their burrow system is a form of food storage, protection from predators, and reproduction (Hazard, 1982). Gophers should not be confused with moles although they sometimes construct similar tunnels. The constant burrowing of the The mound of soil is typically four to eight inches high but may extend up to two feet. The Texas pocket gopher avoids emerging onto the surface to feed by seizing the roots of plants with its jaws and pulling them downwards into its burrow. Owls and hawks may prey upon this gopher if it leaves the security of its burrow system. The eyes and ears are small. By-products of the gopher and unconsumed plant material enhances the fertility of the soil. Predators of the Plains Pocket Gopher are those that can gain entrance to the tunnels such as weasels and snakes, or those capable of digging into the ground like badgers, foxes, and coyotes. TWT © 2021 — Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University. Publ. The tail is brownish with a white tip. These mounds of soil lead to sloping subterranean tunnels that connect to a main tunnel that traverses the entire set of mounds. Although rarely seen, its presence can be determined by piles of fresh dirt pushed to the surface and arranged in a somewhat linear fashion in open fields. Large external cheek pouches, used for carrying food, are lined with fur and extend back to the shoulders. Food:   The food of plains pocket gophers is entirely vegetable matter consisting of grasses and forbs, roots and underground stems. Color photo by Robert M. Timm. 7():1-303. Abandoned tunnels make excellent retreats for many kinds of small vertebrates and invertebrates. in winter or summer. Texas pocket gophers (Geomys personatus) are also brown and It prefers deep sandy and loamy soil in treeless open lands. Plains pocket gophers build and maintain intricate burrowing trails beneath the surface and live the majority of their lives underground. Oklahoma pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius dutcheri). Scientists estimate an average of 4 to 5 gophers per acre of land. SOUTHEASTERN POCKET GOPHER. The female has three pairs of nipples. Plains pocket gophers are solitary except during breeding periods and rarely leave the tunnel except for breeding or for foraging near the entrance of a tunnel, where they sometimes can be seen. Some of the predators pursue the gopher in its tunnel system (weasels, perhaps spotted skunks, and several snakes including gopher, bull, … European Rabbit. Plains Pocket Gopher The Plains Pocket Gopher (Geomys bursarius) is 5-9 inches long and weighs 4-13 pounds. Pocket gophers also provide food for predators, such as skunks, foxes, bobcats, weasels, hawks, owls, and gopher snakes (“bull snakes”). County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences): Atchison (6); Barber (186); Barton (12); Brown (2); Butler (5); Chase (2); Cheyenne (28); Clark (49); Clay (3); Cloud (12); Coffey (1); Comanche (54); Cowley (67); Decatur (12); Dickinson (28); Doniphan (3); Douglas (199); Edwards (49); Ellis (154); Ellsworth (1); Finney (124); Ford (61); Geary (6); Gove (6); Graham (49); Grant (8); Gray (32); Greeley (2); Greenwood (267); Hamilton (103); Harper (41); Harvey (9); Haskell (3); Jackson (8); Jefferson (2); Jewell (2); Johnson (4); Kearney (43); Kingman (6); Kiowa (58); Lane (47); Leavenworth (51); Logan (22); Lyon (2); Marion (8); Marshall (25); McPherson (18); Meade (131); Mitchell (42); Morris (3); Morton (88); Nemaha (2); Ness (18); Norton (40); Osage (1); Osborne (194); Pawnee (47); Phillips (34); Pottawatomie (10); Pratt (28); Rawlins (58); Reno (53); Republic (13); Rice (11); Riley (42); Rooks (65); Rush (16); Russell (43); Saline (17); Scott (12); Sedgwick (40); Seward (58); Shawnee (1); Sheridan (8); Sherman (41); Smith (10); Stafford (32); Stanton (14); Stevens (2); Sumner (52); Thomas (58); Trego (52); Wallace (27); Washington (1); Wichita (12); Woodson (1); Wyandotte (6); The Plains Pocket Gopher is more highly specialized for digging than any other North American rodent and lives underground for practically its entire life. Sagebrush Vole. However, a few species of gopher are decreasing due to habitat loss. Hist., 1:217-236. Gopher predators include snakes, owls, coyotes, weasels, badgers, bobcats and even herons. Skin and hairs are arranged so as to permit flexibility when the animal moves forward or backward in its subterranean tunnels. The plains pocket gopher is especially fond of alfalfa fields, and can become a nuisance. The tail is brownish with a white tip. The lateral tunnels are superficial, and are generally only 150-250 mm below the surface. Pocket gophers face numerous threats from predators. They are eaten by animals that are able to follow them into burrows, such as weasels and snakes. Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson Ronald Press, New York. Pocket gophers can be killed in large numbers with poisoned bait. They are the plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius), which ranges over most of Oklahoma, and the Mexican pocket gopher (Cratogeomys castanops), which is found in the Oklahoma Panhandle. 1) is the smallest and most widespread, occupying much of eastern Washington.Adults of this species measure 8 inches in length, including their 2-inch tail. In five weeks the cheek pouches and eyes of the young open and a week later they are weaned. It has a broad flat head, compact body, short snout, and nearly hairless tail that is used as a sensory organ. By-products of the gopher and unconsumed plant material enhances the fertility of the soil. Large external cheek pouches, used for carrying food, are lined with fur and extend back to the shoulders. The local vegetation is less significant than the nature of the soil, and the gophers are found in prairie grasslands, agricultural land, and even urban areas. Mississippi Valley pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius bursarius). Root vegetables, such as carrots or sweet potatoes, cut to conveniently small sizes and dusted with strychnine are excellent baits. Plains pocket gophers (Geomys bursarius) vary in length from almost 7 1/2 to 14 inches (18 to 36 cm). At White Sands, these include snakes, badgers, coyotes, kit foxes, and owls. Pocket Gophers. Although rarely seen, its presence can be determined by piles of fresh dirt pushed to the surface and arranged in a somewhat linear fashion in open fields. The plains pocket gopher eats plant material found underground during tunneling, and also collects grasses, roots, and tubers in its cheek pouches and caches them in underground larder chambers. The five subspecies in Kansas are: Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above. Plains pocket gophers breed once a year from March through December, giving birth to one to eight pups that weigh 4.9g to 5.4g each. Although essentially solitary, they associate with others in loose colonies and are common throughout the state. Two examples include the tropical pocket gopher and the Michoacan pocket gopher. Males are larger than females, but they are colored alike. Missouri pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius missouriensis). Numerous predators eat pocket gophers. Plains pocket gophers belong to the Geomyidae family. Owls and hawks may prey upon this gopher if it leaves the security of its burrow system. The plains pocket gopher does not hibernate. The main tunnel is generally deeper in the area of the nest chamber; it is usually below the frost line. They reach sexual maturity at one year. The tunnels are excavated using the large claws of the front feet. Northern Grasshopper Mouse. DESERT POCKET GOPHER. The species wreaking havoc in area producers' pastures and alfalfa stands is the plains pocket gopher, which weighs in at a whopping one pound. The front legs are short, strong, and bear heavy claws on all five toes. Illinois Plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius illinoensis). Gophers mix and deepen soils just as effectively as if the fields were plowed, although considerably slower than by human methods. Strychnine, either alkaloid or sulfate, is quite effective. Suite A Beaverton, OR 97005. Northern Pocket Gopher. Description:   The plains pocket gopher can be distinguished from its only Kansas relative, the yellow-faced pocket gopher, by the presence of two parallel grooves (rather than one) on the front surface of its large protruding orange incisor teeth. The upperparts are light to dark brown. Coyote and fox, weasels and owls can be significant predators on gophers. The tunnels also collect runoff of early melting snows and rain storms. Misc. The pocket gopher excavates kidney-shaped mounds of soil. Predators—including owls, snakes, cats, dogs, and coyotes—eat pocket gophers. Despite gophers' subterranean habits, they are frequent prey for several predators. The Plains Pocket Gopher breeds from February to April and, after a gestation presumed to be a month or more, one to six (average four) young are born hairless, pink, wrinkled, and with eyes and ears closed. The Plains Pocket Gopher lives throughout Kansas with the exception of the southeastern corner of the state. These mounds of soil lead to sloping subterranean tunnels that connect to a main tunnel that traverses the entire set of mounds. When a pocket gopher leaves its burrow, however, it is highly vulnerable, and most … Nat. Subordinate Taxa: Brazos pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius braznesis). Size:   Adult females may attain the following dimensions: total length 230-316 mm; tail 63-102 mm; hind foot 30-39 mm; ear 4-9 mm; weight 170-305 grams; males are somewhat larger. The Plains Pocket Gopher can be distinguished from its only Kansas relative, the Yellow-faced Pocket Gopher, by the presence of two parallel grooves (rather than one) on the front surface of its large protruding orange incisor teeth. Remarks:   Predators of the plains pocket gopher are those that can gain entrance to the tunnels such as weasels and snakes, or those capable of digging into the ground like badgers, foxes, and coyotes. The tunnels connecting these mounds are usually 12 – 18 inches underground. The action of gophers in the soil are beneficial for both plant and animal communities. Disposing of this soil only takes a moment, but surfacing at all is dangerous for pocket gophers. The pocket gopher has small eyes and ears and naked or sparsely-haired Geomys (Figure 3b) have 2 grooves on each upper incisor and large forefeet and claws.Plains pocket gophers (G. bursarius) are the largest pocket gophers in North America and can weigh up to 1 pound.They are 7½ to 14 inches in length. The White salmon pocket gopher-Northern (Thomomys talpoides)(Fig. Gophers mix and deepen soils just as effectively as if the fields were plowed, although considerably slower than by human methods. BOTTA’S POCKET GOPHER. Two types of pocket gophers occur in Washington: the Western and Northern, with the Western pocket gopher having several subspecies. All rights reserved. Kansas Publ. The underparts are dull buffy. The hair is short, dense, and glossy, and the skin is rather loose. Skin and hairs are arranged so as to permit flexibility when the animal moves forward or backward in its subterranean tunnels. Foster Although plains pocket gophers (Geomys bursarius) are sel- dom seen, they inhabit vast acreages of rangeland.The relation- ship between plains pocket gophers and rangeland productivity has been the source of many unanswered questions. It has short fur with brown to black coloration. Plains pocket gophers are solitary except during breeding periods and rarely leave the tunnel except for breeding or for foraging near the entrance of a tunnel, where they sometimes can be seen. PLAINS POCKET GOPHER. The tunnels also collect runoff of early melting snows and rain storms. Gopher mounds cover surface vegetation, thus incorporating sometimes over 50 percent of surface plant material into the soil. Young are grayer than adults. These prepared baits can often be obtained from local garden supply stores or from pest … Pocket gophers of all ages fall victim to a variety of predators, but they are especially vulnerable to badgers, which are proficient at digging them out of their tunnels. The five subspecies in Kansas are: Geomys bursarius lutescens in the northwest; Geomys bursarius bursarius in the northeast; Geomys bursarius jugossicularis in the extreme southwest; Geomys bursarius industrius in the southwest more generally; and Geomys bursarius major in the southcentral part of the state. Remarks: Predators of the Plains Pocket Gopher are those that can gain entrance to the tunnels such as weasels and snakes, or those capable of digging into the ground like badgers, foxes, and coyotes. Mus. 2 volumespp. South Dakota is home to the plains pocket gopher and the northern pocket gopher. The conservation status of the pocket gopher is Least Concern and its population is holding steady. Knowledge of the sex of prey is useful in evaluating predator food habits as well as indicating sex specific differences in prey behavior. Montane Vole. Villa-R., B., and E. R. Hall Subspeciation in pocket gophers of Kansas. Mexican pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius mexicanus). Cascade Red Fox ... Northern Flying Squirrel. The underparts are dull buffy. Biologists studying food habits of predators can often determine the prey species but not the sex of the prey from remains found at dens, in stomachs, scats, or pellets of predators. Plains pocket gophers prefer deep, sandy, friable soils to facilitate their burrowing lifestyle and their herbivorous diet of plant roots. They have stocky bodies, small eyes and ears, and sparsely furred tails. Plains Pocket Gopher. The plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius) also occurs in Illinois and lives a subterranean life similar to the eastern mole. The eyes and ears are small. The front legs are short, strong, and bear heavy claws on all five toes. The upperparts are light to dark brown. Nat. Mountain Cottontail. Copyright 1999. Each adult pocket gopher occupies its own burrow system most of the year, but they can quickly occupy a neighboring burrow if a resident disappears. Ozark pocket gopher (Geomys … In addition to the nesting chamber there are special tunnels for food storage and for the deposit of fecal material. SOUTHERN POCKET GOPHER. The lateral tunnels are superficial, and are generally only 150-250 mm below the surface. Pocket gopher sign includes large unsightly mounds in yards and mounds in hay fields. Predators: American Badger. Although four species of pocket gophers are found throughout Colorado, the primary species of concern in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo areas is the plains pocket gopher. Plains pocket gophers are larger than eastern moles. After sufficient dirt has accumulated the gopher turns around and pushes the dirt with front feet, head, and chest to a surface opening where it piles the dirt. Owls and hawks may prey upon this gopher if it leaves the security of its burrow system. Canines and badgers dig them out of the ground, and if pocket gophers leave their tunnels, owls and hawks are happy to snatch them up. Univ. Black-tailed Prairie Dog ... Montane Shrew. claws. Although they are seldom seen above ground, their presence is easily detected by the mounds of dirt they push out from their tunnels. It prefers deep sandy and loamy soil in treeless open lands. Moles excavate circular, volcano-shaped mounds of soil. The fur is usually brown but may be black. Badgers and snakes will hunt pocket gophers underground, but most predators wait for them to come to the surface. (): Hall, E. R Handbook of mammals of Kansas Univ. After sufficient dirt has accumulated the gopher turns around and pushes the dirt with front feet, head, and chest to a surface opening where it piles the dirt. The name "pocket gopher" on its own may refer to any of a number of genera within the family Geomyidae. For plains pocket gophers, a population of six to eight animals per acre is considered high density. Their gestation period lasts 18 to 19 days, weaning occurs 40 to 44 days after birth, and independence is attained on an average of 51 days later. One of two pocket gopher species in Minnesota, plains pocket gophers (Geomys bursarius) are chunky rodents, about 10-12 inches long. Maximum longevity of this mammal is generally less than five years. Adults can weigh up to 1 pound; males are generally larger than females. Green plants and grasses are taken from around the entrance of their tunnels and perhaps beyond, at night. Range and Habitat:   The plains pocket gopher lives throughout Kansas with the exception of the southeastern corner of the state. YELLOW FACED POCKET GOPHER. Badgers, snakes and hawks also make gophers part of their diet. Owls and hawks may prey upon this gopher if it leaves the security of its burrow system. Experience has shown, however, that by the time gopher populations level off naturally, they've already caused much damage around homes, gardens, parks, or athletic fields. In addition to the nesting chamber there are special tunnels for food storage and for the deposit of fecal material. Young are grayer than adults. It has a broad flat head, compact body, short snout, and nearly hairless tail that is used as a sensory organ. Abandoned tunnels make excellent retreats for many kinds of small vertebrates and invertebrates. CINCH Traps LLC 10140 SW Allen Blvd. Two species of pocket gophers are found in Oklahoma. The tunnels are excavated using the large claws of the front feet. Their earth mounds can damage the sickle bars of mowing machines. The edges of the toes are fringed with hairs that assist in digging and handling dirt. Geomys bursarius recently was divided into 3 species, G. jugossicularis halli, G. lutescens, and G. bursarius halli. Pocket gophers make their burrows in places with deep, sandy, crumbly soil ideal for tunneling, and their distribution often mimics the coverage of such soils (animaldiversity.org). Damage by pocket gophers can be reduced by exclusion, cultural methods and habitat modification, trapping, and toxicants applied by hand or with a burrow builder. (Their cousin, the Northern pocket gopher can only be found in the very northeast corner of the state.) When half grown, they disperse and begin to forage alone. Destruction Island Shrew. A pocket gopher’s burrow system may cover 1 to 2 acres. As long as they remain in their burrows, pocket gophers are relatively safe from predators other than those that are specialized for digging, such as badgers and long-tailed weasels. The main tunnel is generally deeper in the area of the nest chamber; it is usually below the frost line. Desert pocket gophers (Geomys arenarius) are always brown and vary from nearly 8 3/4 to 11 inches (22 to 28 cm) long. 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