Gopher (animal)


Gopher (animal)

A gopher is a small burrowing rodent that comes in many varieties including:
* Pocket gophers of the family Geomyidae, native to North America, also called true gophers.
* "Many ground squirrels" among the family of Sciuridaes (particularly Richardson's Ground Squirrel, "Spermophilus richardsonii" ).

Gophers weigh about 1/2 pound, with the head and body about 6 inches long, a tail of 3 inches and have a 2-3 year lifespan (assuming no diseases or predation).

All gophers have in common, the digging of tunnels, subterranean chambers, and the association with the rodent order, Rodentia. Disruption of such human plans for the surface as commercial agriculture, garden plots, and some landscaping, by their underground activities, leads to their frequent treatment as pests. In contrast, North American entertainment culture and non-technical literature tends to anthropomorphize gopher characters as "non-threatening".

Gophers will create a large community of tunnels with large mounds of dirt at their entrances - these are frequently referred to as "towns". Adult gophers will frequently stand watch at the entrance to a tunnel and whistle when predators are spotted, causing all the other gophers to run for the safety of the tunnels. A gopher town can easily spread to take over large sections of prairie or mountain meadow and may have a population in the thousands. The resulting destruction of plant life will then leave the area a stretch of denuded dirt.


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • gopher — [[t]go͟ʊfə(r)[/t]] gophers 1) N COUNT A gopher is a small animal which looks a bit like a rat and lives in holes in the ground. Gophers are found in Canada and the USA. 2) N PROPER; also N COUNT In computing, Gopher is a program that collects… …   English dictionary

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