A single pocket gopher can move 4 tons of soil in a year as it builds its tunnel. It’s an extraordinary feat, but that also means chaos for your yard. Pocket gophers in Utah also damage underground utility lines and irrigation networks. They leave holes that can be dangerous for kids, and their vegetarian diet can wreck your vegetable garden or flower patch.


Recognizing Gophers


Gophers and voles are often confused, since both are burrowing rodents that can be pests in residential yards. However, voles have a tendency to only dig shallow holes and tunnels, whereas gophers will have networks of tunnels under the ground. You can recognize a gopher by the mound of soil left around the holes, which it leaves as it digs and moves soil.


The gophers most commonly found in Utah are:


  • Northern pocket gophers (found in the northern regions)
  • Botta’s pocket gopher (found in central and southern region)


Gophers can range from 6 inches to a foot in length, with brown fur. They make up for their poor eyesight with a short, sensitive tail and whiskers which help them navigate an underground tunnel network.


Gophers also have large yellow incisors that are always bared and pouches in their cheeks used for carrying food (thus the name “pocket gopher”). Their diet is exclusively vegetarian, and they feed on plants and shrubs, including the roots. They’re most active during spring and fall, so that’s the time when people usually notice damage. It’s also the best time to get rid of a gopher.


Eliminating Gophers from Your Yard


We haven’t yet found an effective repellent for gophers, although some home remedies recommend putting offensive smells at the tunnel entrances in order to discourage gophers from your yard. Usually the best way to get rid of them is with a trap or poison.


Fortunately, gophers are very solitary and territorial, so you’ll only be dealing with one critter, unless it’s mating season or your unwelcome guest is a mother. Usually, we’ll eradicate gophers with traps placed at the tunnel entrances, or bait hand-placed in the same area.


You can protect certain plants from gophers or other burrowing creatures by placing a mesh fence under the soil around the roots of the plant. This is especially effective if you’re trying to nurture a young plant, which will be more hardy and rodent-resistant as it grows.


Our team of friendly and experienced technicians can help you identify problematic rodents in your yard and effectively eliminate it before it does more damage to your landscape. We don’t rest easy until the job is done, and you can rely on us to be effective and efficient!