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Gopher Habitat Gopher habitat is limited to the western hemisphere, however, they can be found in a variety of habitats in North and Central America including pastures, prairies, grasslands, and perhaps your yard.
The specific range of the gopher is, as indicated earlier, limited to the western hemisphere of the earth and does not extend into South America. Pocket gophers can be found from Panama in Central America northward to Alberta in Canada with all but one (1) species, the southeastern Pocket Gopher. These animals are found only in the western 2/3rds of the United States. Closer to home the range of individual gophers while varying a tiny bit, depending on specific species is a few acres.
Pocket Gophers climate restrictions vary from species to species. You will find the animals from the low coastal regions in California to elevations as high as 12,000 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountain region of the US and Canada. This extensive climate tolerance is most likely due to the fact that the animal spends most of its life in a climate controlled environment under the surface of the earth!
This little mammal spends the majority of its time under the ground in burrow holes that are custom built for them. The burrows can range from four (4) to eighteen (18) inches below the soil surface and are normally two (2) to three and one-half (3 ½) inches in diameter. Larger gophers may present with larger holes. Burrows can vary from one (1) main tunnel with two (2) to three (3) extensions to, in some cases, a hundred or more lateral tunnels with many, many extensions; it is all a matter of preference!
Each main burrow tunnel ends with a soil plug on the surface, this is called a mound. These mounds are created as the gopher moves dirt from the earth during construction. In the winter time these mounds will also contain snow.
Pocket gopher habitat is defined mainly upon the soil conditions of the general area. With 25 species of gopher there are many different soil types preferred, and, as a result, local populations of gophers are normally specific to one (1) particular species. Generally, sandy soil is always preferable to burrowing mammals, with clay soils being the least preferable.
Soil depth, however, is very important to this little mammal. Experts have determined that soils that are less than four (4) inches are not suitable for pocket gophers. It is theorized that in the winter months shallow soils do not provide enough insulation and become colder than deeper soils, conversely, in the heat of the summer shallow soils absorb too much heat.
Rocky soils may deter pocket gophers as well. While they will work around rocks that are one (1) inch or less in size, larger rocks will be pushed out of the way. You will be hard pressed to find pocket gophers in areas where rocks make up ten (10) percent or more of the soil structure.
Because of the great many different species of pocket gopher it is amazing to see that the types of the differences a small between types of Pocket Gopher Habitat.