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Gophers can be a nuisance in your yard, causing damage to your plants and creating unsightly holes. If you’re dealing with gopher problems, it’s important to know how to locate their tunnels and effectively get rid of them. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of finding and eliminating gopher holes in your yard.

Understanding Pocket Gophers

Identification and Biology:

Pocket gophers are small burrowing rodents that can cause significant damage to your yard. They are typically found in North and Central America and are known for creating complex networks of tunnels underground. Pocket gophers have small eyes, strong front legs with sharp claws for digging, and a fur-lined pouch on the outside of their cheeks, which they use to carry food.

Locating Gopher Tunnels

Probing for Burrows:

One way to locate gopher tunnels is by probing the ground with a metal probe or rod. Gophers dig tunnels that are usually about 2-3 inches in diameter and located about 6-12 inches below the surface. The probe will sink easily into a tunnel, indicating its presence.

Learning the Basics About Gopher Tunnels:

It’s important to understand the basics of gopher tunnels to effectively locate them. Gophers create main tunnels that connect to feeding tunnels, which are used to gather food. These tunnels are usually located in areas with loose, sandy soil.

Steps to Find Gopher Tunnels:

To locate gopher tunnels in your yard, follow these steps:

  1. Choose an area that shows signs of gopher activity, such as fresh mounds of soil.
  2. Insert the metal probe into the ground and slowly push it down, feeling for any resistance or sinking into a tunnel.
  3. Continue probing the surrounding area to identify the extent of the tunnel system.

Trapping Gophers

How to Trap a Gopher:

Trapping is an effective way to remove gophers from your yard. Here’s how to trap a gopher:

  1. Choose the right trap, such as a box trap or a snap trap.
  2. Locate an active gopher tunnel by probing the ground.
  3. Set the trap in the tunnel according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Check the trap regularly and remove any trapped gophers.

Step-by-Step Guide to Trap Placement:

Follow these steps to properly place a trap:

  1. Clear the area around the tunnel entrance.
  2. Dig a hole to expose the tunnel and locate the lateral tunnel.
  3. Set the trap at the entrance of the lateral tunnel.
  4. Cover the trap with soil to block out light and create a dark tunnel effect.
  5. Wait for the gopher to enter the trap and check the trap regularly.

Removing Trapped Rodent:

Once you have trapped a gopher, it’s important to handle it properly. Use gloves and a bag to remove the trapped gopher from the trap. You can release it in a remote location or dispose of it following local regulations.

Getting Rid of Gopher Holes Humanely

Habitat Modification:

Modifying the habitat in your yard can help deter gophers. Keep your lawn well-maintained, remove any debris or hiding spots, and plant gopher-resistant plants.

Baiting with Toxic Baits:

Another method to control gophers is by baiting them with toxic baits. These baits contain chemicals that are lethal to gophers when ingested. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and keep pets and children away from the baited areas.

Fumigation as a Control Method:

Fumigation involves using gases to eliminate gophers from their burrows. This method should be used by professionals as it requires specialized equipment and knowledge.

Using Predators for Gopher Control:

Some predators, like owls, snakes, and domestic cats, can help control gopher populations naturally. Encourage these predators in your yard by providing suitable habitats and food sources.

Preventing Gophers in Your Yard

What Attracts Gophers in Your Yard:

Gophers are attracted to yards with loose soil, abundant food sources, and hiding spots. Removing these attractants can help prevent gophers from invading your yard.

Maintaining a Mound-Free Yard:

Regularly inspect your yard for signs of gopher activity, such as fresh mounds, and promptly address them. This can prevent gophers from establishing their tunnels and causing further damage.

Helpful Tips to Keep Gophers Away:

Here are some tips to help keep gophers away from your yard:

  • Plant gopher-resistant plants.
  • Install underground wire mesh barriers to prevent gophers from burrowing into specific areas.
  • Keep your yard well-maintained and free of debris.
  • Consider using sonic devices or motion-activated sprinklers to deter gophers.

Identifying and Distinguishing Gophers from Other Burrowing Animals

Moles in Your Yard: Identification and Differences:

Moles and gophers are often mistaken for each other due to their similar burrowing behavior. However, moles have paddle-shaped hands, lack external ears, and are more solitary in nature compared to gophers.

Ground Squirrel Holes: How to Recognize Them:

Ground squirrel holes can be distinguished from gopher holes by their larger size and scattered mound shapes. Ground squirrels also tend to create multiple entrances and exits to their burrows.

Controlling Gophers with Effective Bait Placement

Understanding What Gophers Eat and Where They Live:

Gophers primarily feed on plant roots, bulbs, and tubers. They live underground, creating complex tunnel systems for foraging and nesting.

Using Kaput-D Pocket Gopher Bait as a Control Method:

Kaput-D Pocket Gopher Bait is a rodenticide that can effectively control gophers. Follow the application directions carefully and use the bait in accordance with local regulations.

Correct Bait Placement and Application Directions:

Follow these steps for correct bait placement:

  1. Locate an active gopher tunnel using probing techniques.
  2. Place the bait in the tunnel according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Cover the baited tunnel with soil to prevent exposure to non-target animals.
  4. Monitor the bait placement regularly to ensure effectiveness.


Dealing with gopher holes in your yard can be frustrating, but with the right knowledge and methods, you can effectively locate and eliminate them. By understanding gopher behavior, using traps or other control methods, and implementing preventive measures, you can achieve a gopher-free yard. Remember to always follow safety precautions and local regulations when dealing with gophers.


Q: How do I know if I have gophers in my yard?

A: Signs of gophers in your yard include fresh mounds of soil, chewed plants or vegetation, and visible tunnel entrances.

Q: Are gophers harmful to humans?

A: Gophers are generally not harmful to humans, but their tunnels and holes can cause tripping hazards and damage to landscaping.

Q: Can gophers be controlled without using toxic baits?

A: Yes, there are non-toxic methods available to control gophers, such as trapping, habitat modification, and encouraging natural predators.

Q: How long does it usually take to get rid of gophers?

A: The time it takes to get rid of gophers can vary depending on the control method used and the size of the gopher population. It may take several weeks or months to completely eliminate them from your yard.

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