Do you have a small animal tearing up your yard that you need to get rid of? Before doing so, you better know what animal it is.
If you’re dealing with a bunch of holes in the yard, you’re likely dealing with a gopher or a groundhog. And while these creatures are thought to be cute, they can be a significant nuisance. It’s reasonable that you want them out.
But you can’t dispose of them without some knowledge, particularly when one is an endangered species. Here is your gopher vs. groundhog guide help you deal with this situation.
What is a Gopher?
Gophers are small to medium-sized burrowing rodents. They are called pocket gophers due to their fur-lined cheek pouches resembling pockets.
Gophers or pocket gophers have large yellow teeth, which can be seen even when their mouths are closed. These teeth keep dirt out of their mouths while they are digging.
Gophers prefer to make their homes in burrows, which can often be seen due to the mounds they create. They are mainly active in areas with sandy soil.
Gophers are herbivores, and they are typically interested in a plant’s roots and tubers. This is what attracts them to people’s yards.
A typical gopher lifespan is about three years.
Now that you have your gopher guide, it’s time to learn about groundhogs.
What is a Groundhog?
Groundhogs are much larger than gophers, with a weight of up to 13 pounds and a length of up to 20 inches. Groundhogs tend to have short, bushy tails, thick fur, and white teeth that are only visible with an open mouth.
Like gophers, groundhog burrows are large and deep holes. They also eat plants and vegetation, feeding most actively in summer and early fall before hibernating in the winter.
As with gophers, an average groundhog lifespan is about three years.
Gopher vs Groundhog
While gophers and groundhogs may appear similar at first glance, they are two distinct species with different characteristics, behaviors, and habitats. One of the primary differences lies in their taxonomy: groundhogs belong to the Sciuridae family or the squirrel family, which also includes squirrels and chipmunks, while gophers belong to the Geomyidae family.
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are larger in size compared to gophers. They can grow up to 20-27 inches long, including a six-inch tail, and weigh between 6-14 pounds. Groundhogs have a chunky body, a broad head, small ears, short legs, and a short bushy tail. They are often brown in color and have large incisors that they use to dig burrows and defend against predators. Groundhogs are found in the northeastern and central United States and Canada.
On the other hand, gophers are smaller rodents that typically measure between 5-14 inches long and weigh around a half to two pounds. They have a compact body, a flat head, small ears and eyes, long claws for digging, and large incisors that protrude from the mouth even when it’s closed. Gophers are usually brown or tan in color. They are found in North and Central America, living in burrows they dig themselves.
Groundhogs are omnivores that eat a wide variety of vegetation, insects, and other small animals when available. They are active during the day, especially in early morning and late afternoon. On the other hand, gophers feed primarily on plants, consuming roots, tubers, bulbs, shrubs, grasses, seeds, and some fruits. They are active at all hours of the day but do most of their feeding at night.
Another difference between gophers and groundhogs is their hibernation habits. Groundhogs spend a lot of time hibernating, meaning they will sleep through the entire winter, while gophers do not truly hibernate and can be seen active throughout the year.
In conclusion, while there may be some superficial similarities between groundhogs and gophers, closer inspection reveals significant differences in their physical characteristics, dietary habits, and behaviors. By understanding these differences, we can better appreciate the diversity of rodent species and their unique adaptations to their environments.
Why Are These Rodents Pests?
Gophers and groundhogs are after any food they can get, making your yard with its trees, plants, and vegetable garden an appealing spot. Unfortunately, they can cause major damage to your yard and home.
The wrecked garden and the mounds in your yard take away the visual appeal. More importantly, those holes are a safety hazard. And to make matters worse, the burrowing these creatures do can damage the structure of your home.
Your irrigation system and more can also be damaged as these creatures burrow.
While it’s understandable that you want these creatures out, you must know how to do so. Some species of pocket gopher are endangered. Also, some means of removal require permits.
To be on the safe side, you should seek out professional pest control services. Click to find out more.
Gopher vs. Groundhog
This gopher vs. groundhog guide should clear up confusion and help you know which pest is destroying your yard. Figure out what you’re dealing with, and get those rodents out. But do so in a humane and legal matter.
Check out or Home & Garden section for more.