The can move forward and backwards in their tunnels. The tunnels they build have different functions. They build holes like this one near the surface to look for food--usually roots and tubers like carrots or potatoes or turnips. Pocket Gophers also eat other plant material including seeds and cereal crops. They are not picky. They eat all kinds of plants from native plants to ornamental plants. The tunnels that make up their homes area further underground. They build the deeper tunnels of 1 to 3 yards for their living area: their nest, their bathroom area, and of course places they store the food they find while foraging. The surface tunnels are helpful to find food, but carry some danger as well. After all being so close to the surface, predators like owls and Coyotes. can hear them in their surface tunnels. In the Sora article below, a zoologist name C.A. Tryon, Jr. from the University of Montana observed a Great Gray Owl break through such a surface tunnel. Tryon thinks that when the Gopher went up to repair the hole, the owl got him. Gophers like to stop up or plug their tunnel entrances. Other rodents like California Ground Squirrels or moles may keep them open. The mounds they leave are often crescent shapes according to the County of Los Angeles. Keeps out some predators. Doing all that digging gets messy. Pocket Gophers have tear ducts that make a lot of tears that keep dirt and other gunk out of their eyes. Their fur is often very similar to the ground in which they have their homes. Good camouflage.
Eating duck food. Struck the mother lode!
The gopher had lots of space in his fur-lined pouch to store food. He started looking like his face was swollen. He filled his pouch with grain up to his shoulders. The pouches, like the pockets after which these Gophers are names, can be turned inside out to empty its contents in the store room that are in the deeper tunnels of the Gopher's home. You may wonder how they get their water. They get all the moisture they need from the plants they eat.
The ducks and the gopher competed for food.
mammals. Especially in the Western United States where we live, Great Blue Herons love gophers and eat them more often than Great Blue Herons in other areas. Other large egrets and herons may eat them as well. They are often hunted by humans who are upset by the damage they do to landscaping and wires.
He was as curious as we were.
So when you are out birding, don't forget to look down. You never know what you might see.
Checking things out.
If you see a gopher, remember that gophers are wild, so always exercise caution.
Wow, what a place! Everyone loves Alice's Breakfast in the Park!
Last time I went by Alice's Breakfast in the Park the gopher hole was filled in, and he had moved on. But you should still check out Alice's Breakfast in the Park--hits the spot on a nice morning in the park. Great place for birders to stop by as they go birding in Central Park in Huntington Beach. It is just around the Shipley Nature Center . How often can you go to one of Orange County's best birding hotspots and get a great breakfast and the most delicious cinnamon role or muffin that you've ever had baked fresh right there? They take bakery orders, too. Go birding and pick up freshly baked goods to take home. Alice Gustafson, wife of John Gustafson (owner of the World Famous End Café on Huntington Beach Pier before a storm swept it away) opened this great place up 28 years ago. People bring their dogs--the dog park is nearby. They serve the dogs, too. You can sit and bird and people watch at the same time. Easy to bird the lake from your table outside. You look up in the trees and can see Cooper's Hawks , and Audubon Yellow-Rumped Warblers . Common yellowthroats call from the marshy grass. Eat inside or outside. It's a treat either way for breakfast or lunch. Check it out.
Some of the Many Birds I have seen while at Alice's or Nearby:
Red-winged Black Bird
OC Birder Girl Links
External Links and Resources
Alice's in the Park is open into 2010. Alice's is an awesome place with great cinnamon roles.
Check it out. You can eat inside or outside.
Great short article with pictures.
Very good article.
Very good article. Check out the really neat video
of a Botta's Gopher digging.
Good short Article.
You will have to page down on the Sora page to see this short
article. Great observations from this older article.