Are Gophers a Threat to My California Home?

They don’t run up and down the trees like squirrels. You won’t catch them sneaking a drink from the birdbath. Gophers are solitary mammals, but just one of these pests can make a mess of lawns and gardens.

How do you identify a pest that’s so hard to see? Let us help with more than 60 years of gopher control experience. Here’s everything you need to know about the signs of gopher problems around California homes.

Signs of Gopher Activity

You probably won’t come face to face with a pocket gopher. It lives in a network of tunnels as deep as 6 feet under the lawn. With these gophers popular in California, our rodent control services know how to spot them so based on their behavior patterns. If you do spot a ground-hugging creature that matches this profile, chances are you have a gopher on your hands: 

  • Furry with small eyes and ears
  • Average length between 5 and 14 inches
  • Pouch-like pockets on cheeks
  • Four protruding incisor teeth
  • Digging claws on front paws

Gopher Mounds

There are a number of invasive species that dig holes in lawns. Raccoons, squirrels and moles leave their mark, but a gopher mound has a specific appearance. The average gopher hole measures from 2 1/2 inches to 3 1/2 inches. Dirt spread around its opening forms a 10- to 20-inch horseshoe-shaped mound. The hole itself is closed off by a round plug of dirt with a circular gap on one side of the crescent. It’s more than a hole in the ground, too. Gopher mounds are portals to an extensive underground network of tunnels.

Plugged Holes

A gopher mound serves as a main doorway, but the rodent doesn’t use it exclusively. As it expands its territory, the gopher pops out of its subterranean home on foraging expeditions. The furry pest doesn’t always build a mound around these holes. Instead, it plugs them with fresh dirt and moves on through the tunnel system.

Gopher Feeding

The gopher uses a highly efficient system for feeding. It constantly digs under the yard, eating plant roots. The results are patches in the garden where flowers appear to have been sucked into the ground below. Collapsed plants and nearby mounds or plugged holes are sure signs you need California gopher control. A single gopher can create a tunnel network that covers a mile or more. It feeds on root vegetables, ornamental shrubs, flowers, grass and even tree roots and bark.

How Serious is Gopher Lawn Damage? 

A gopher stays busy year-round, but it’s most active during spring and fall. The small rodent can establish territory exceeding 2,000 square feet. One gopher builds as many as three mounds each day, averaging 70 in just one month. It does more than ruin your favorite flowers. Constant tunneling leads to soil erosion and stunts healthy grass growth. A gopher disfigures tree bark and destroys saplings. It damages underground drainage and utility lines. An accidental step in a gopher hole can leave you with a sore ankle or worse.

Professional Gopher Control

The one sure way to identify pocket gophers starts by contacting us here at O’Conner. Our free inspections include a quote and a clear assessment of the gopher problem on your property. We’ve been removing gophers from Southern California yards since 1952, and we’re ready to help you. Contact us today: 800-284-7985.