Pocket gophers are stocky, short-legged, medium-sized rodents with bodies well-adapted for digging. They have small eyes and ears with a broad head; exposed yellowish, chisel-like, incisor teeth; a short, sparsley-haired tail; and front toes with long, stout claws used in digging. They are called "pocket" gophers because they have deep, fur-lined external cheek pouches, in which food, mostly tubers and roots, is carried. In general, poket gophers reside in rangelands, alfalfa fields, roadsides, railroad rights-of-way, introduced pastures, and they often invede flower beds and lawns. They mostly feed on of tree-roots, grasses, dandelions, and alfalfa. they also feed on seeds, leaves, tender stems, tubers, and bulbs.
How To Kill Pocket Gophers
Gopher populations can be reduced or eliminated over a considerable area with persistent control efforts. Control is best conducted when gophers are most active near the surface, usually in the spring or fall. New activity is usually indicated by fresh mounds of soil. At other times, labor and material may be wasted in treating unoccupied runways. Control methods include poisoning, trapping, flooding, gassing, encouraging natural enemies, and exclusion. The two most practical and efficient methods are using toxic baits and trapping. Over large and heavily infested areas, poisoning is the most economical control method. Gophers not killed by poisoning will throw up fresh mounds and these individuals can be trapped. On small areas, such as lawns or where only a few animals are involved, trapping is the most practical method.
Pocket gophers can be killed in large numbers with poisoned bait. Strychnine, either sulfate or alkaloid, is quite effective. Root vegetables, such as carrots or sweet potatoes, cut to conveniently small sizes and dusted with strychnine are excellent baits. Grain baits, such as corn, oats, wheat, and grain sorghum are readily eaten in some localities and often give better results in fall when pocket gophers are storing much of their food. These prepared baits can often be obtained from local garden supply stores or from pest control operators.
Place the baits in the main runways with as little disturbance as possible. Toxic baits left on the surface will not be found by gophers, but they may endanger other wild or domestic animals. If the mounds are leveled as you work the area, gophers that escape treatment will make new mounds you can easily detect. Additional baits or traps may then be placed where needed. Note that, materials used for poisoning gophers are dangerous to man and other animals. So, extreme caution should be used when handling, storing, or applying these toxic substances. All labels on toxicants should be read and followed closely.
Special traps are required for trapping pocket gophers. Small spring traps of varying sizes, box traps with a choker loop are some widely used traps. Two traps of appropriate size should be placed in the main runway, one set in each direction. This makes a trap-set. Using a stout garden trowel or a lightweight shovel, find the freshest mound and follow a lateral from the mound to the main runway. Clear a place in the main runway large enough for two traps, disturbing the surrounding area as little as possible. Set the pan or treadle so that traps can be easily sprung. Insert the traps, jaws forward, into the hole facing in opposite directions and press them down firmly. Cover the opening in the burrow with a clod or a handful of grass to cut off most of the light.
Gophers instinctively cover open burrows to keep out enemies. Each trap should be fastened to a stake with a light wire. After traps are set, tramp down the tops of all mounds so that mounds made by the gophers you miss will be evident on your next visit. For efficient use of traps and for best results, visit trap-sets morning and evening.
Moreover, there are several other methods to control gophers such as exclusion, burried utility cables, irrigation line and several traditional methods. You can also seek professional help for gopher control. Licensed professionals have access to different tools that you can't buy over the counter. So, if your do-it-approach doesn't prove to be very effective as needed, consider getting a hired gun.