Published on February 9, 2013 by Amy
The Name “Gopher”: “Gopher” comes from the word “magopher,” which is obscure in its origin.
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Location: Southwestern United States and northern MexIco.
Habitat: Varied: large valleys, mountains, and coastal regions.
Description: The color of the coat varies depending on the habitat: from almost white in the desert to almost black in coastal areas. In most areas the coloring is some shade of dull brown. The eyes and ears are small. At each side of the mouth is a large fur-lined cheek pouch. The large powerful incisor teeth are visible even when the mouth is closed. The feet have long strong claws – particularly the front feet. The gopher is about seven inches long, with a three-inch tail in addition. They weigh up to nine ounces, with males larger than females.
Behavior: The western pocket gopher spends almost all of its life underground. It digs out long tunnels with its strong claws. When it digs it also uses its incisors for shifting earth. Its large burrow, which is usually inhabited by a single gopher (or a female and her young), consists of various chambers and larders (storage areas), and tunnels leading to these. It feeds on roots, seeds, and various cereal crops, sometimes causing considerable damage. But at the same time it aerates and mixes the soil, thus making it more fertile.
Reproduction:The 2 to 6 young are born in October or June, after a gestation period of about 19 days. There is usually one litter per year, but occasionally two.
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