Over the years, many popular magazines and movies have featured stories about rodents. In this age of information technology, good information can be transferred quickly. On the other hand, the Internet & poorly researched articles can serve to quickly misinform the public.

The following are myths, misconceptions, or half-truths commonly heard from people about the rodent in their neighborhoods.


Gopher Myths Unearthed

A gopher's solitary, underground lifestyle makes it difficult to study their behavior. Despite their furtiveness, some facts about these secretive critters have been unearthed, so we thought we'd set the record straight on a couple of untruths once and for all.

FICTION: Gophers are not mammals

FACT: Gophers actually are mammals. Almost half of all mammal species are classified as rodents, including gophers. Because gophers are usually referred to as rodents, this can lead to the misconception that gophers are not mammals. So, call them what you like, but we're just trying to set the record straight. Gophers truly are mammals.


FICTION: Gophers hibernate in the winter

FACT: Gophers are active all year long. A lot of people think that gophers go into hibernation during the winter months but that's not the case. Gophers are active throughout the year. True, they are more prolific diggers in the Spring and Fall. But, trust us. When winter rolls around, the gophers are still out there, tunneling away like there's no tomorrow.


FICTION: Gophers build mounds, not tunnels

FACT: If only this were true. The discouraging fact is that gophers build both. Unsightly gopher mounds are hard to miss, but gopher tunnels are typically hidden deep beneath the surface of the ground. These subterranean tunnels may be out of sight but they're hardly out of mind if you're someone who has been victimized by a gopher's underground digging. Foundation cracked? Water line severed? Sprinkler system damaged? Chances are, you have a gopher to thank for that.


FICTION: Gophers have keen eyesight

FACT: Gophers do have visible eyes (unlike moles) but their eyesight is quite poor, as is their hearing. So how do gophers navigate their way through their underground tunnels? They rely on their highly sensitive whiskers and tails to show them the way. Gophers' face whiskers are responsive to anything they touch, as are their thinly haired tails. Both act as sensory tools to help these burrowing animals find their way around the dark tunnel systems.

[back to top]