Found mostly west of the Mississippi River, these burrowing range from 6-12″ long and sometimes are confused with ground squirrels. However, these furry creatures with strong digging claws and sharp teeth can cause lots more damage to lawns and gardens than a squirrel. They will feed on above and below-ground portions of many plants. Roots crops, such as potatoes and carrots, and bulbs, such as tulips, are favorite targets.
Gophers may gnaw bark from young trees in winter, and even chew plastic water lines when water is scarce. Their tunneling also leaves mounds of soil pushed to one side and plugged shut (versus mole mounds that are round and open). Their burrowing is deeper and not as obvious as mole tunnels.
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