Scientific Name: Family Geomyidae
Description: Pocket gophers are fossorial rodents named for their fur-lined cheek pouches. Their cheek pouches, or pockets, are used for transporting bits of plant food that they gather while foraging underground. They have special adaptations for their burrowing lifestyle, including clawed front paws for digging, small eyes and ears, and sensitive whiskers and tails. They’re also able to close their lips behind their long incisors so that they can use their teeth to loosen soil without getting any dirt in their mouths.
Size: Pocket gophers are medium-sized rodents that range in length from 5 to 14 inches.
Diet: Roots, tubers, and the occasional above ground plant provide all the necessary nutrients to these hungry rodents. Pocket gopher teeth are well-adapted for their vegetarian diet. Their incisors are ever-growing, which compensates for the tooth wear incurred while chewing on hard, gritty materials. Pocket gophers also have flattened molars and premolars which are perfect for grinding vegetation. They can chew the root systems back faster than they can grow back.
Life History and Reproduction: Pocket gophers are solitary animals that typically breed in spring and fall, but can potentially breed year-round. Young pocket gophers are born in nest chambers underground. The mother takes care of the young for several weeks before sending them on their way to construct burrows of their own.