Crop Production > Pests > Gophers


Gophers (Pocket Gophers)


  • Burrowing rodents with fur lined cheek pouches (located outside of the mouth) for carrying food and nesting materials.
  • There are more than 40 species of gophers in North and Central America.
  • Lips can be closed behind front teeth to exclude dirt from mouth while digging with incisors.
  • Length: 7”-10”.
  • Weight: 3-5 oz.
  • Colors range from light to dark brown.


  • Burrows can cover 200 to 2000 sq. ft.
  • Tunnel diameter is 2.5” to 3.5”.
  • Feeding tunnels are approximately 6” to 12” deep.
  • Nesting and food caches may be as deep as 6 ft.
  • Gophers do not hibernate.
  • They lead a solitary life except during breeding.
  • Gophers are herbivores, feeding on plants, shrubs, trees, roots – they do not eat insects.


  • Reach sexual maturity at 1 year old and live for about 3 years.
  • Females produce 1 to 3 litters per year in irrigated sites, averaging 5 to 6 pups.
  • One mating pair can produce 18 pups per year.

Control Methods

  • Trapping
    • Can be effective, but only on small populations.
    • Requires extensive maintenance and monitoring.
    • Proper technique and knowledge of the animal are critical to success.
    • Control typically requires multiple traps, which is costly.
    • Can be extremely dangerous around children and pets.
  • Repellents
    • Include water-in types, fumigants, mechanical and ultrasonic devices.
    • Completely ineffective.
    • May show some initial, short-term results, but the animals typically return in a few days.
  • Poison Baits
    • Rodenticides are the most effective and economical choice for Gopher control
    • ZP AG is an acute product registered for use on gophers
    • Contains 2% Zinc Phosphide as the active ingredient
  • Baiting Techniques
    • Bait must be applied directly into Gopher’s underground burrow system.
    • Hand baiting: 1 teaspoon applied at 2 to 4 locations using a probe into the underground runway.
    • Mechanical baiting with a burrow-builder: Drop a teaspoon quantity of bait at 4 to 5 foot intervals into artificial burrow (approximately 2 to 3 pounds per acre).