What Does Gopher Poop Look Like: Identification & Pictures

gopher poop
Unlike moles and voles, gophers only eat plant-based food. This diet reflects in their droppings—which look like shiny, black, tubular pellets with blunt ends. Gopher feces isn't much larger than rat droppings, measuring about half an inch. Their scat is mainly clustered in latrines underground.

Have mysterious droppings found their way into your yard? If you’ve ruled out squirrels and sewage-dwelling rodents, you might be dealing with poo from a burrowing pest.

One particularly nasty pest for any garden is the gopher. Let’s look into the world of gophers, and how to identify if one is currently ravaging your garden and backyard.

What Time of Day Do Gophers Come Out?

Typically, Gophers are most active at dusk and early eveningsAlthough gophers are typically active during daylight hours, we usually don’t see them as often because they spend most of their time underground.

That said, they occasionally pop out at various times of the day. They’re most likely to pop out during the spring season, creating up to three mounds a day in the process.

What Attracts Gophers to Your Yard?

Gophers devour a diet filled with tubers, plant matter, and roots—essentially any plant-based matter that’s present in their natural habitat. These pests will seek out anything plant-based in your garden, including:

  • Alfalfa
  • Lettuce
  • Dandelions
  • Bulbs
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Unlike other rodents, these critters feed primarily off your vegetable gardens. Contact pest control if the infestation is unbearable.

How Far Down Do Gophers Dig?

The nest and food storage chamber—the lowest point a gopher is willing to dig—is typically located six feet underground. The gopher’s tunnel systems are located higher above the storage chamber, usually falling somewhere between six to eighteen inches below ground.

While gophers primarily reside in their storage chamber, they often inspect their extensive burrow system. They do so at least once a day to look for signs of predators or to repair any damage.

three gopher standing in a huddle amongst leafy green grass

How Many Gophers Live in a Hole?

Gophers are solitary creatures. Usually, only one gopher lives in a hole. The only exception is during spring—in other words, mating season.

Springtime is when male gophers find a mate, or several, and when female gophers find a nest to house their young. Each litter typically consists of five to six baby gophers or pups. After a few weeks, the pups will be sent away by their mother to live elsewhere.

How Do I Find the Main Gopher Hole?

Use a long tool to probe the entrance of a pocket gopher mound. The main hole is usually 4 to 12 inches below the mound’s opening.

You’ll know you found it when you feel a sharp drop from the entrance hole to the main tunnel. This typically measures down to about 2 inches in length.

Are Gophers Good for Anything?

While gophers can be frustrating crop destroyers, they do benefit the environment. Here are some reasons why it’s beneficial to have them around:

  • Gophers “churn” the soil as they burrow, which helps to aerate it.
    • Their underground activities also help with drainage and irrigation.
      • Particularly in flood-prone areas.
  • Gophers bring more mineral-rich soil to the surface.
    • This improves the quality of crops and produces growth in the area.
  • Gophers are also vital in the grand ecological food chain
    • They serve as meat for wildlife carnivores.
gopher munching while laying down

What Kind of Animals Eat Gophers?

Gophers serve as food for a wide variety of creatures. These carnivores wait in front of their burrow and capture the gopher when they least expect it. Some of the most common gopher predators include:

  • Badgers
  • Coyotes
  • Weasels
  • Owls
  • Snakes
  • Skunks
  • Bobcats
  • Hawks

Are Gophers Aggressive?

While they may seem shy and reclusive animals, gophers are surprisingly territorial creatures! They aren’t afraid to bite intruders, whether they’re other gophers, pets, or humans.

This attribute can be dangerous—as these pests are known to carry the deadly rabies virus. If you or your pet actually gets bitten by a gopher, be sure to seek medical attention immediately.

How Do You Fill Gopher Tunnels?

Spilling water into a gopher hole won’t do much since the gopher can just retreat further into their burrow and dig it back once it’s dry. Instead, you’ll need to use Tunnel Fill or homemade remedies to fill and seal the gopher hole.

If gopher bombs aren’t an option, Tunnel Fill is a commercial product that expands when in contact with water. Simply pour it into the main gopher hole along with some water and wait for the product to harden. The gopher will be sealed inside their own burrow, effectively forcing them to retreat or trapping them for good.

Joshua Munoz

Most people’s first instinct when they see a wild skunk is to back away, but not Joshua. He holds a near-obsessive fascination with skunks and their behavior. Although Joshua has never been closer than five feet to a skunk, he has spent countless hours researching them. He knows almost everything there is to know about skunks, from their diet and habitat, to how to humanely trap them. Joshua’s interest in skunks is rooted in his love of animal biology. He fondly remembers topping his finals in biology class while in university. Now, as a writer, he fuses passion and expertise into one by sharing his knowledge about the animal kingdom with others.

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