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A Gopher standing in Alberta, Canada.A Gopher dragging leaves into it's burrow.A Gopher poking it's head out of it's hole.Gopher (Spermophilus Richardsonii)Gopher (Spermophilus Richardsonii)
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Gopher Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
Spermophilus Richardsonii
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
12-30cm (4.7-12in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
220-1,000g (7.8-35.2oz)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
25km/h (16mph)
How long the animal lives for
3-5 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Brown, Tan
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Woodland and grass prairies
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Roots, Fruit, Leaves
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Owls, Snakes, Coyotes
Special Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Puffy face and long front teeth

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Gopher Location

Map of Gopher Locations
Map of North America


There are two main species of gopher, the pocket gopher and the Richardsons ground squirrel, both of these species of gopher are found in North America. The gopher is a small squirrel-like rodent which lives in burrows underground.

The gopher digs large networks of tunnels and subterranean chambers which are referred to as gopher towns. These gopher towns contain an extensive network of tunnels that often result in the disruption of agriculture and landscapes.

The gopher towns can stretch for vast distances through mountainous terrain and often contain thousands of gopher residents. The adult gophers tend to situate themselves at the front of the gopher town and whistle to the others when the adult gophers spot potential predators or sense nearing danger.

Gophers are small animals, usually around 15cm in length and a quarter of a kilogram in weight this however is slightly dependent on the species of gopher.

The gopher is a true hoarding mammal as the gopher stores the food that the gopher finds in its cheek pouches before taking the food back to the gopher burrow, where the gophers are known to collect astonishing amounts of food.

The presence of a gopher can be determined by the mound of dirt that can be seen on the surface of the ground. In a similar way to the mole, the tunneling of the gopher creates a large amount of dirt being pushed out behind it, and this therefore creates the gopher mound.

Some species of gopher, such as the Richardsons ground squirrel, are known to hibernate during the cold northern winters. Baby gophers will usually hibernate at the beginning of Autumn in their first year of life, but the adult gophers often begin their hibernation in the middle of the summer, around July time! The gophers hibernate until the spring, when the male gophers emerge from hibernation first in order to establish their territories before the female gophers wake up.

Gophers are omnivorous animals with the diet of the gopher being predominantly comprised of nuts, seeds and berries along with grass, grains and insects which is where the gopher gets the majority of its protein from. The gopher however, has a number of natural predators mainly because of the size and abundance of the gopher in certain areas. The natural predators of the gopher include large birds, badgers and coyotes and of course, the human, who is known to kill the gopher as an agricultural pest.

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First Published: 26th January 2009, Last Updated: 10th September 2018

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2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2010]
4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 26 Jan 2009]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 26 Jan 2009]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 26 Jan 2009]