What Attracts Botta’s Pocket Gophers to Your Calabasas, CA Yard & How to Get Rid of Them
Gophers are medium-sized, furry rodents that burrow tunnels through yards. They are actually called pocket gophers because they have external fur-lined cheek pouches, or pockets. These pockets go all the way back to their shoulders and are used to carry food from one location to the next. They will remove food from these pouches by bringing their forefeet all the way up to their cheeks and push the food out. There are five species of pocket gophers found in California, with Botta’s pocket gopher being the most widespread. The holes they create give them a bad reputation.
Gopher Appearance & Behavior
Gophers are larger than mice, but usually smaller than rats, measuring 5 to 14 inches long and weigh about a pound or more with small ears with no distinct neck. They have four large incisors that will constantly grow throughout their life. They will close their lips behind these incisors to keep dirt out as they dig. The stout body of a gopher is designed for digging. Their legs are short and powerful, and they have broad feet with large claws. Their hairy tails help them navigate when they move backwards underground, and they can run backwards just as quickly as they can forwards. They prefer to live in areas with loose, sandy soil and will make their homes in burrows that consist of many tunnels. Tunnels are used for nesting, food storage, sleep, having babies, and latrines. It is rare to see gophers because they spend most of their lives underground. You will know if you have gophers on your property if you notice dirt that has been pushed to the surface. Mounds of dirt and/or holes 2-3 inches in diameter with a crescent or horseshoe shape. If the tunnel is open, the gopher has most likely abandoned it as gophers will always plug or backfill the hole. Gophers area active all year long and do not hibernate. That also means they will breed all year long too.
Health, Holes & Other Hazards of Having Gophers on Your Property
• They can cause extensive damage to your lawn. The piles of dirt you see only show the surface damage. The holes can weaken the integrity of your yard and lead to cave-ins. They will also destroy the roots of your grass and create brown patches.
• Flowers and trees become a food source. Because they are herbivores, they will eat vegetation. That means the roots of your trees and flowers. When they do venture out of the ground, they will start to eat the head of your flowers.
• Dirt mounds and holes can become a walking hazard. Dirt mounds look bad and create tripping hazards. An unexpected drop can jar your foot, ankle, or leg and cause injury.
• Gophers carry disease. Gophers can carry rabies that they can then pass on to your or a household member if they bite. They can also carry Hantavirus and monkey pox.
If you think you have gophers on your property, you need the help of pest control experts before a colony gets out of control. Contact Ventura Pest Control to schedule an inspection and discuss options to free your property of gophers.