The pocket gopher is a rodent that lives in burrows and is found in North America. Many people have never seen a gopher and wonder, ‘do gophers have tails?’
Most rodents have tails, but as gophers spend much of their lives underground, it’s often assumed that they don’t. In fact, the gopher has a small, thick tail with a darker tip. This article will tell you more about the appearance of a gopher and how they use their tails.
What is a gopher?
The gopher, also known as a pocket gopher, is a type of burrowing rodent that lives in North America. Gophers are typically found living in forest areas with soil rich with organic materials. Soil quality is an essential part of their habitat as they live in colonies and create extensive burrows.
Gophers are herbivores, and their diet typically consists of plant roots and tubers, grasses, and barks. Although gophers look cute, they can cause damage to crops in agricultural areas and get into people’s yards. This is generally not a severe problem because gophers only live in certain places.
Gophers do not like open spaces and are rarely found in wilderness areas. They usually prefer to burrow within forested areas with plenty of cover from predators.
The burrows that gophers create can be very deep, and it’s not uncommon for them to tunnel under roads, railways, and buildings. Gophers have a stocky body with short legs and are about 6 to 8 inches in length, including their tail. They have short hair and tan colored fur.
Do Gopher’s Have Tails?
Gophers have full length tails, which served no purpose in digging. Biologists studying the mammals have discovered that the tails are used for sensory purposes, much the same way that rats use their tails to feel around when in dark places.
The tail is typically the same color as the gopher’s body, and they will curl it upwards. The tails of gophers are thick and covered in fur. They are light brown with a slightly darker tip.
Gophers have small eyes and poor vision, but they have an excellent sense of smell and hearing. They also have amazing front teeth that never stop growing, and they can be up to 2 inches long.
Fun facts about gophers
- A single gopher can dig as many as 800 feet of underground tunnels in an area of one acre of land. Related article: How to Visualize an Acre
- Like all rodents’ gophers’ teeth are constantly growing, so they have to gnaw bark to keep them from getting too long.
- Gophers look cute but are a serious menace in some areas of America, chewing through irrigation systems and damaging land and property.
The pocket gopher does, in fact, have a tail that serves no purpose to its underground lifestyle but may help with balancing. Gophers can be annoying as they are always in pursuit of food and move mounds of earth while foraging. They have pouches in their cheeks like hamsters which allow them to store food and bring it back to their burrows. These critters can cause chaos and you may need to call in a pest control expert if you have gophers in your yard.