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I can't think of what the animal below is but a gopher. But it doesn't look like any gophers I see in other pictures. This animal is very quick, so it's hard to capture in pictures. But it seems smaller than a gopher and does not have the pouchy cheeks.

NEW PICTURE ADDED BELOW The animal now spends a lot of time above ground and does not shy away when I approach. In this new picture, it looks more like a mouse than a squirrel to me. Could I be wrong? enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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    It looks like Bill Murray, if you look at it long enough. Jun 2, 2019 at 22:51
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    Do you live in Punxatowny, PA, USA? Jun 2, 2019 at 22:52

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Looks like a gopher to me. I have lost established plants from them, including a Beauty Bush and a huge Butterfly bush...they eat the roots. I get rid of them in my garden whenever possible. My cat keeps very busy hunting them.

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  • I agree that it looks more like a gopher than the other options I've considered. Jun 14, 2019 at 10:57
  • Yes, I think you are right that it is a gopher from the shape of its ears and tail and the texture of its fur. It seems smaller than I expected and my initial pictures of it were not very good so I thought it might be a ground squirrel but the ears really give it away.
    – Daanii
    Jun 15, 2019 at 2:22
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That looks like a Groundhog. Depends where you live and what it eats. Gopher, Marmot, Groundhog, Woodchuck, Muskrat are all different names for similar looking rodents.

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    Rolled back edit - moles look quite different (at least in Europe) and you would never see a mole looking out of its hole as in the photo - their vision is negligible and their eyes aren't even obviously visible. They live permanently underground.
    – alephzero
    Jun 1, 2019 at 8:51
  • Moles and shrews are black with webbed feet and tiny to NO eyes at all. They do live in our soil and I've NEVER ever regretted their occupancy in all of the thousands of acres of hoity toity rich people's landscapes under my command. Never. That is a ground squirrel, gophers are much bigger. I would love to know what others see as detrimental cause these guys I welcomed into my acres and acres and acres of landscapes I had to account for for any problems. Never a problem except for the clients who wanted to kill. Adios! Adios to the rich clients!
    – stormy
    Jun 2, 2019 at 21:33
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Ground squirrel most call it...sweet thing. Sorry, I am no bleeding heart but these little animals are a boon in your landscape. They are territorial. That means you will not have any population explosions.

Grubs, are their primary diet. Great for control. Ground dwelling very industrious mammals are aerating your soil, top dressing your lawn and beds. Just knock down the little hills of soil with a leaf rake or even a broom. Just brush them down and out into the lawn thinly. I got PAID to do this service for our clients. Dumping topsoil on top of the lawn and raking it in? Running an aerator pulling plugs of sod and soil from the lawn and letting them lie where they fall. To disintegrate.

These animals do all of that for free. Maybe munch a bulb or two? I'd buy them bulbs to eat. They don't do that until the dead of winter, usually.

These little guys; moles, gophers, shrews, even voles are great additions to your landscape, I kid you not. To get rid of them means that others will very quickly take those niches. They are not the bad guys everyone makes them out to be, at all.

Great pictures. There is possibly a male and female and a nest of babies. When the babies get self sufficient they get tossed out by mommy and daddy. As all mommy and daddy animals should, grins.

They also add their little poo poo pellets while digging these tunnels. These guys just might make a few tunnels that collapse but remember, there are only two at the most. You are having way too much fun! Sweet pictures.

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    Funny, the european ones do not toss out the babies when they grow up. They still live like one family. Jun 1, 2019 at 11:41
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    I did not mean people in my comment above. ;) Jun 1, 2019 at 11:44
  • I got it Aleksandar, grins! They live like one family but when babies are able to compete with mommy and daddy they are tossed out. This is what I've learned, experienced and unless you know of a population explosion of these little mammals, I have NEVER experienced or have heard of one. Grins, "The European Ones"...grinning and giggling. I dunno, maybe you are right. I have never had the luck to see European landscapes in person on the ground. No problem, Alex, I am constantly trying to push the envelope of what I know.
    – stormy
    Jun 2, 2019 at 21:24
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I am a pocket gopher expert of more than 55 years. That is in fact a pocket gopher. They live in massive underground colonies that never hibernate and continually inbreed. Reproduction is like the possum; gestation is 13 days, from birth to sexual maturity another 17 days. The first litter is 4, every litter afterwards is 6. Females will throw 3 litters all females, the following will have 1 male. They grow exponentially by 6, so one pregnant female can leave the nest in your HOA’s property, tunnel under the wall or along the pipes into your yard and in a few months have produced over a thousand offspring. This is why I’m immediately trapping and killing them at the first signs is so important. Removing the dirt mounds only allows them to live undetected until the population is so extreme that they must come aboveground to locate new den areas; pools, homes, trees, sidewalks, etc. the worst thing landscapers do is remove that soil and allow them to produce more generations.

No other rodentia mound, plug and seal their tunnel systems. The Geomyidea have many varieties but that appears to be a Botta, maybe a Townsend assuming you’re in California. Those tend to be smaller than ours in Arizona, which a typical adult female is the size of a size 14 shoe. All other species are open hole and short burrowed rodentia.

If you see mounding near sewer cleanouts, most likely, there is a female under the bathtub. This female was foraging and having easy access to food for her new pups.

gopher mounding at sewer cleanouts a bad sign

This young female was rescued from a young man that was torturing her with his snake. She went to live out on my ranch miles from any city. female pocket gopher

This female does have eyes, just as moles and shrews do. Those two latter rodents have small eyes that are protected by thick fur to keep the dirt out. If you look closely, there are pockets on each side of the face. They are fur lined and able to stretch to carry food, dirt, pups, rocks, trinkets, even to remove poisons and baits from their tunnels and expel above ground. Their claws are designed to dig through the hardest soils like our caliche. The palm has an extra pad that looks more like two thumbs for pushing and moving soil and debris. The teeth are stained yellow and orange from the iron in the soil. These teeth move independently to slice through branches, even chip away concrete. Being bit by these aggressive rodents isn’t fun, as they have no problem biting through a finger and the bone, once the lock down, they usually Wont let go, you’ll have to kill them by striking or a sharp object like a shovel. holding a pocket gopher

Pocket gophers are strict Herbivores which means you’ll have more luck getting a manatee to eat a Ford truck than getting a pocket gophers to eat poisons and baits. There is no nutritional value, they must eat live plants. Unfortunately, when they follow sewer, water and gas pipes into homes and create dens, they also bring in the dirt and plant material that can cause mold and help produce a dangerous situation with diseases, parasites and fleas. These cavities and tunnels are why no one should use poisonous, explosive or deadly gas, when it comes to gophers. The tunnels intersect for miles and carbon monoxide for one is odorless, the smallest beings inside will be injured or killed first. If you have gophers, trapping is the only true method.

Brandon holding a pocket gopher

Not many have the experience of an old trapper but the traps we use are made by Victor and they’re called EasySet Gopher Traps. I make no money by recommending them either. I have RA and they’re easy to set VS the others that aren’t or hold an odor. Instructions are on the packages, just follow them, be patient, don’t keep checking on them, just leave them alone for 4-5 days and your odds increase.

pocket gopher pups and den removal

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  • Very interesting. It sounds like gophers have taken over our whole yard, since we've seen their mounds and holes for over 10 years now. We have them front, back and side yards.
    – Daanii
    Mar 10, 2023 at 23:16
  • Use gopher traps, the only ones I recommend are Victor EasySet and depending on the population, you need to get enough traps to get the job done. Wear protective gear, disposable gloves and a mask is paramount. Mar 12, 2023 at 0:15
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It really does depend on where you are. In addition to the species mentioned above it could also be a Ground Squirrel.

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  • I live in California just south of San Francisco.
    – Daanii
    Jun 15, 2019 at 2:23

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