Where Do Gophers Live?


Quick Answer

Gophers live in burrows, particularly in areas with sandy soil that is loosely packed and easier to dig through. They are native to North and Central America and can be found from Illinois down to Florida, west to the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific coast and down into Panama. They are also called pocket gophers.

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Full Answer

Gophers use their claws and large front teeth to dig underground, and typically do not leave their burrows during the day, though they are not specifically considered nocturnal either. People can usually tell where gophers have been because they leave mounds as they dig, and while generally considered a nuisance in residential areas and to farmers, they are often beneficial as well by helping to aerate fields, and their burrows help to decrease soil erosion.

Gopher burrows can be complex systems with multiple tunnels and chambers that often extend as much as six feet below ground level. These chambers can serve as nests, storage places or middens, and when the gophers have moved on permanently, often serve as homes for other creatures.

Gophers have short legs and tails, small ears, small eyes, almost no neck and broad heads. They eat grubs, tubers, roots and farm vegetables, and prefer habitats that are plentiful in the foods that they eat. They often carry that food in their large cheek pouches, which is how they got the name "pocket gophers". Gophers are solitary and tend to defend their home territories aggressively.

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