Fun Gopher Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Gopher Facts For Kids

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Gophers are also known as pocket Gophers. About 35 species of Gophers are found in the central and north American regions. Pocket Gophers are known to dig an extensive network of tunnels and destroy farms and gardens. They are known to have large fur-lined cheek pouches which they use to hoard food and transfer the food to their burrows. The tunnels network, which they dig, are used as protection and to store food. Pocket Gophers are found spending most of their time underground in these tunnels. Therefore, they are considered a pest. Pocket Gophers are known to be very aggressive and territorial. They use their sharp claws and teeth to dig the tunnels.

Pocket Gophers have soft fur, a flat head and short neck, and fur-lined cheek pouches or pockets on either side of the face. They have thick whiskers and long visible incisors, with small ears and eyes, short tails, strong forequarters with long claws. Pocket Gophers eat shrubs, roots and fleshy parts of the plant. They have weak eyesight and hearing. But pocket Gophers have a highly developed power and sense of touch and rely heavily on it for survival.

Their whiskers and sensitive tail help the Pocket Gopher feel the surrounding area at all times. After reading about pocket gopher habitat and other facts, you may also look at porcupine facts and gundi facts.

Fun Gopher Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Roots, fruits, leaves

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

6 pups

How much do they weigh?

7.8-35.2 oz

How long are they?


How tall are they?

6-8 in, with tail of 1-2 in

What do they look like?

Brown or tan-colored rodents

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans, Snakes, Owls, Coyotes

What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them?

Woodland And Grass Prairies


North America And Central America









Gopher Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Gopher?

The pocket Gopher (family Geomyidae) is a type of rodent. The origin of the word gopher is the French word Gaufre. Gaufre means waffle which would indicate the complicated network of tunnels it makes.

What class of animal does a Gopher belong to?

The pocket Gopher (Scientific name Geomys bursarius) belongs to the mammal class of animals. There are 35 species of Gophers, some of which are the Geomys bursarius illinoensis, Geomys bursarius missouriensis and Geomys bursarius ozarkensis.

How many Gophers are there in the world?

The exact number of pocket Gophers found in the world isdifficult to come by as the animal is considered a pest. Gophers are known to destroy farmlands, vegetable cultivation, and gardens, and the soil in which these trees grow. Therefore measures are taken to curb their population in the United States.

Where does a Gopher live?

Pocket Gophers are found in the North American region of the Great Plains from the Canadian border to Texas. Pocket Gophers are also found in Central America, specifically in Mexico. They can be found in or near farmland, desert, or mountainous regions where the soil is loose, and they can dig a hole and make their network of tunnels.

What is a Gopher's habitat?

Gophers are found at farmland, vegetable patches, or a garden that has plenty of food for them. Pocket Gophers dig a network of tunnels underground in these areas where they can live, forage for food and also save the food they hoard. Pocket Gophers can be found on the plains, a desert, or a mountainous region where the soil is loose for them to dig. These animals are known to make two types of tunnels, one that is near to the surface with many twists and turns to eat the plant roots. The second type is deeper in the ground, which they use for nesting and store food.

Who do Gophers live with?

The Gophers are known to be lonely creatures who don't enjoy living with their own kind. Pocket Gophers are territorial and aggressive. But these animals are known to share their living area with other animals like rabbits or mice. They interact with other Gophers only during mating season.

How long does a Gopher live?

The Gopher's lifespan is about one to three years. Pocket Gophers can be found to live up to five years. Some species are known to live for seven years in the wild. They are quick-moving rodents, and they share their living environment with many predators.

How do they reproduce?

The Gopher’s mating season is during the spring season. Male Gophers search for and visit the female Gophers’ burrows. They are known to breed once a year. One or two species breed twice, once in spring and once in fall. Gophers are known to be polygamous. They mate with more than one individual. The gestation period for a female gopher is 18-30 days. After which, they will give birth to 5-6 pups. The nest is made in the female gopher tunnel system. Gopher babies are born with no sight and hearing capabilities. They can see and hear only after they are 5 weeks old. Their pups are weaned after 40 days. Mother Gophers take care of her babies on her own for two months, and then they go on to dig their own burrows.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the pocket Gopher is near threatened. Due to the havoc and destruction caused in farms and vegetable gardens by them, they have been declared a pest. Their constant digging and tunneling can cause damage to the soil, too. Due to these reasons, they may be exterminated in many areas which may have resulted in a near-threatened status.

Gopher Fun Facts

What do Gophers look like?

Gophers may look something like a mouse or a rat and sometimes like a squirrel. Gophers have black to brownish fur, which matches the soil in which they live. They have small dark eyes and tiny ears with very little sight and hearing. Their slender bodies allow them to fit into a narrow hole. They can be 5-14 in long. They have pouches or pockets in their cheek and therefore are called pocket Gophers. They can stuff food and carry it to their storage tunnel. They can turn their cheek pouches inside out to empty them. They can close their lips by keeping the incisor teeth on the outside so that while digging, no soil enters the mouth.

A Gopher has small eyes and loves to eat plants.

How do they communicate?

Gophers are shy, solitary creatures spending most of their time underground. They may not need to communicate much. They come in contact with other Gophers when they trespass their tunnel systems or when they want to mate. They can emit high pitch squeak or scratching or gnawing sound sometimes.

How big is a Gopher?

The Gopher is no bigger than an average pencil. They grow to a length of 6-8 in with a tail of 1-2 in. They may be smaller than the average rodents.

How fast can a Gopher run?

The Gopher can run up to a speed of 16 mph. With their size and shape, they have to fast to protect themselves from their predators.

How much does a Gopher weigh?

A Gopher weighs almost 7.8- 35 oz. They are tiny creatures, much like rodents.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male and female Gophers do not have specific names by which they are called. They are called male Gophers and female Gophers only.

What would you call a baby Gopher?

Bbaby Gophers are called pups.

What do they eat?

Gophers can eat roots, leaves, fruits, or flowers. They like to eat bulbs, roots, and tubers of plants with their leaves. They will find the root of the plant and pull it all down to eat. They feed on the fleshy part of plants. Gophers are known as larder hoarders. They use their cheek pockets to carry large quantities of food down through their tunnels and store them in burrows.

Are they dangerous?

Gophers are not known to be dangerous to humans. But they can destroy farmlands and crops with their tunnels and food foraging habits. They are known to visit gardens, vegetable patches, tuber plants to eat and hoard these juicy roots. The species may bite if they get aggressive, but the bite isn't lethal.

Would they make a good pet?

The gopher could make a good pet if given the right environment for it to grow. It is much like a hamster, with its small furry body and hoarding skills. But they are shy creatures who spend most of their time underground and are not known to interact with others.

Did you know...

Gopher’s lips close behind its four incisors, which prevents dirt from entering its mouth.

They can turn their cheek pockets inside out to clean them.

This species can move backward in a tunnel using the tail to navigate.

Having Gophers on your land

Gophers are attracted to gardens and farmland for the tubers, vegetables, and fruits. This species love eating the roots of a plant and pull the whole plant down from underground. This insistent destruction to agricultural land also disturbs the soil quality, and therefore attempts are made to decrease them from such areas. However, you can prevent Gophers and get rid of them by some methods, like baiting a Gopher in a live trap and releasing them away from the tilled land. You can place peppermint oil, castor oil pallets, and fabric softener sheet near the vegetable patch as the gopher gets repelled by them, flooding or fumigating their tunnel networks could be used as a last resort.

What are Gophers good for?

The Gopher can help in increasing soil fertility by mixing fecal matter and plant materials into the soil. Their burrowing also helps in aerating the soil and decreases compaction. They also increase the ability of the soil to soak up water. This species good for the ecosystem overall.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammal including field vole, or Chinese hamster.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Gopher coloring pages.

‍Second image by Antony-22.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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