Pocket Gophers

Their are four pocket gopher species found in Colorado are distributed almost entirely in different areas, possibly because of different ecological requirements or competition. 

Plains pocket gophers are abundant in sandy and silty soils of the plains but are not abundant in compacted soil

The northern pocket gopher occurs in upland areas of the eastern plains to shallow gravel in mountainous areas to thin soils of the alpine tundra. It is the most common species in mountain rangelands and aspen forests.

Botta’s pocket gopher is found primarily in well developed soils of warm valleys in southern Colorado. 

The yellow-faced pocket gopher inhabits a portion of southeastern Colorado where the plains pocket gopher is found. However, the yellow-faced pocket gopher is confined
to drier sites. 

Pocket gopher mounds are built of excavated soil. The gophers usually construct one to three mounds per day. 

Pocket gophers usually breed in the spring and produce one litter of 1 to 10 young (typically three to four) after a gestation period of about 20 days. 

Pocket Gopher
Pocket Gopher Eskers


The northern and Botta’s pocket gophers have smooth upper incisors with a single indistinct groove near the inner border and have smaller bodies and proportionately smaller front feet than the plains and yellow-faced pocket gophers. Botta’s pocket gopher is often reddish-brown with a blackish chin and reddish belly.

The northern pocket gopher usually is dark-colored with a whitish chin and belly. 

The plains pocket gopher has two distinct grooves on the front surface of each upper incisor. 

The yellow-faced pocket has one distinct groove on the front surface of each upper incisor. 


Pocket gophers can be excluded from valuable plots of ornamental trees and shrubs with a 1/4 to 1/2-inch mesh hardware cloth fence buried at least 18 inches. The bottom of the fence should be bent at a 90-degree angle so that a 6-inch apron of wire projects horizontally toward the gopher. Place the fence in shallow soil at least 2 feet from the nearest plants to avoid root injury. This method is of limited practicality because of expense and labor. Cylindrical plastic Vexar mesh tubes placed over the entire seedling, including bare root, can reduce damage to newly planted seedlings. 

Lethal trapping is one of the best methods to reduce pocket gopher numbers on small to moderate-sized fields (less than 50 acres). 



Identification of the pest is crucial for the correct prescription treatment and will reduce the unnecessary use of pesticides.

Set Action Thresholds

An Action Threshold is the pest population level at which the pest's presences is a :Nuisance, Health Hazard; or Economic Threat

Pest Prevention

As a first line of pest control, habitat modification is one very effective and cost-efficient strategy that presents little of no risk to people or the environment.

Pest Control

Control methods will be determined on the pest management evaluation and prevention.
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