Do gophers hibernate?


Quick Answer

True gophers, rodents belonging to the group Geomyidae, do not hibernate, but some animals that are commonly called gophers are hibernators. For example, Richardson's ground squirrel, sometimes called a gopher, is known to hibernate.

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Full Answer

True gophers, also known as pocket gophers, live year-round in tunnels that they have burrowed through the earth. As temperatures are more stable underground, they are active even in the depths of winter.

Richardson's ground squirrel, sometimes called a gopher, hibernates seven months out of the year as a way of dealing with the cold. Ground squirrels are more closely related to their tree-dwelling cousins than to pocket gophers and do not share the pocket gopher group's adaptations for underground living. Ground squirrels store food and sleep underground but travel above ground to forage, while pocket gophers are so well-adapted for living underground that they primarily eat roots and tubers, rarely having to emerge from the earth.

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