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Gopher & Ground Squirrel Identification

What are gophers and ground squirrels?

Ground squirrels and gophers are common pests in Ventura County that takes over lawns and gardens. Gophers are rodents with stout bodies, short necks, and blunt noses and have tan or brown fur. They use their short front legs and claws to tunnel through the soil. Gophers have external cheek pouches they use to carry the food they gather, mainly grass or plant roots and bulbs.

a gopher on the grass

Small to medium-sized rodents, ground squirrels live together in groups. Ground squirrels have mottled light brown or grayish fur. Their tails are bushy but less bushy than a tree squirrel’s tail, and their ears stand up off of their heads. Ground squirrels mainly feed on grasses, plants, seeds, fruits, and nuts.

Are gophers and ground squirrels dangerous?

Gophers and ground squirrels are dangerous because they destroy the properties they are living on.

Ground squirrels specifically will cause damage to foundations, sidewalks, and pools by borrowing next to or under them. The entrance and exit holes they create around your property can lead to trip and fall hazards. An annoying and expensive result of ground squirrels living on your property is the damage they cause to ornamental plants, fruits, and vegetables.

Gophers tunnel through the ground and feed on plant roots or grass roots, causing plant damage or death. Their tunnels are also deep enough to where they damage wires, pipes, and cables buried underground. Gopher tunnels can extend from our lawns to under driveways, cement slabs, and foundations, causing structural damage. As gophers move through the soil, they loosen it creating a grid of tunnels across the lawn that are unsightly and make mowing difficult.

Ground squirrels and gophers carry on their bodies a heavy load of parasites (fleas and ticks) that they introduce onto the properties they have invaded.

Why do I have a gopher and ground squirrel problem?

Moist, loose soil and healthy green grass are attractive to lawn and garden pests like gophers and ground squirrels. Healthy lawns and gardens mean that there is plenty of food for these pests to feast on. If your property is next to large open areas of land like fields, orchards, parks, meadows, or golf courses (some of their favorite places to live), there is a good chance you will experience problems with gophers or ground squirrels.

Where will I find gophers and ground squirrels?

Both ground squirrels and gophers are active throughout the year, with their most active period being in the spring, summer, and early fall when food sources are most abundant.

Ground squirrels are active during the day, and we often can see them foraging for food outside of their underground burrows. Ground squirrels use the burrows to sleep, raise their young, store food, and hide from predators.

Gophers live outside in wide-open spaces. Properties with irrigation systems are highly sought after real estate as their soil is moist and easy for them to dig through! Their burrowing systems are four to twelve inches under the ground and contain hundreds of tunnels.

How do I get rid of gophers and ground squirrels?

Getting rid of gophers and ground squirrels is a daunting process and one best left up to an experienced professional. At Ventura Pest Control, we have a lot of experience dealing with gophers and ground squirrels; you can put your trust in us to clear your property of these pests. After completing a thorough inspection, we will eliminate pests through the use of humane traps and baits.

With over 63 years of success in the pest control industry, you can rest assured that we will solve your property’s gopher or ground squirrel problem. To learn more about Ventura’s oldest family-owned and operated pest control company and the exceptional gopher and ground squirrel control services we offer, give Ventura Pest Control a call today!

How can I prevent gophers and ground squirrels in the future?

In addition to our home pest control and commercial pest control services, use the following tips to prevent gophers and ground squirrels from invading your property:

  • Protect garden areas on your property by burying fencing at least 18 inches into the ground.
  • Use raised planting boxes as much as possible in garden areas to prevent these pests from digging through your gardens and damaging the plants.
  • Maintain garden areas and regularly harvest fruits and vegetables from them.
  • Bury fencing in the ground around the bottom of sheds and other outbuildings to prevent gophers from tunneling underneath them.
  • Fill in ground holes on your property and around the foundation of your home.

Helpful Articles

Ventura County’s Pesky Squirrel Problem

Don't Let Ventura County Gophers Tear Up Your Yard This Summer


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