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Gophers

DESCRIPTION

Pocket Gophers are medium sized rodents ranging from 21 to 38cm long and weighing between 94 and 104 grams. They have large, fur-lined cheek pouches they use to carry food through their underground tunnels. Pocket gophers have stout forefeet with large claws, and continuous growing incisor teeth that are always exposed. They have small, yet very functional, ears and eyes. A nearly naked tail allows them to be able to navigate backgrounds quickly through its tunnel. Colours can range from nearly black to pale brown to white.



Pocket Gophers are rarely seen, and live most of their lives beneath the ground in burrow systems that are often elaborate. They spend warm months collecting food (vegetation only) to tide them over for the winter. Pocket gophers are capable of surviving the harshest of winters and can rapidly expand when conditions are good. Unfortunately, good conditions mean high quality crops such as alfalfa. These crops can quickly be destroyed as they feed on roots and make entrances to their burrows, usually resulting in a fan-shaped mound of dirt above ground.

Pocket gophers usually live alone within their burrow system, except when females are caring for their young or during breeding season. Pocket gophers reach sexual maturity at approximately 1 year of age and can live up to 3 years. Breeding usually occurs in late winter and early spring, resulting in 1 litter per year; in irrigated sites, gophers can produce up to 3 litters per year. Litters usually average 5 to 6 young.

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