Pest: Pocket Gopher (Thomomys sp.)
Pest Type: Vertebrate Pests
Major Identifying Features: Five species of pocket gophers are found in California, with T. bottae, being most widespread. They are 6-10 inches long, they remain underground in their burrow system, horseshoe shaped mounds of fresh soil are the best sign of gophers.
Life Cycle: Gophers don’t hibernate and are active year-round, and are active all hours of the day, they usually live alone unless during the breeding season. They can live up to 3 years and reach maturity at 1. Breeding occurs in late winter and early spring, resulting in 1 litter per year with 5-6 young. They feed on herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees.
Pest Rating: Moderate
Management Rating: Moderate
Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Mound building activity can mostly be observed in spring and fall when the soil is moist and easy to dig, they are active year-round.
Damage Information: Pocket gophers invade yards and gardens, feeding on many garden crops, ornamental plants, vines, shrubs, and trees. They can also damage plastic lines and sprinkler systems, they build mounds and tunnels (aesthetics, safety hazards).
Management Options: Pocket gophers can be controlled with any legal means (non-game mammals). Physical control by trapping or catch and release, and underground fencing, chemical control with repellents and toxic baits. Baits types include single feed and multi-feed which is good around children and pets.
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