Nov 1, 2012 – Got Gophers, No Mounds


I have a customer that is having a gopher problem, but does not have any of the typical "horseshoe" mounds. She only has "feeding holes" made by the gopher in the grass area. Is there a proper way to treat these or to find the main run? I am using a "gopher getter jr." probe with strychnine bait.


If this definitely is a gopher creating that hole and feeding damage on the grass then there just have to be soil mounds around the area somewhere, and probably nearby. All of that tunneling that the gopher did to reach this lawn area to feed has created excess soil that the gopher must remove from the burrow system, so even if the mound is hidden under some shrubs or is on the other side of the fence it just has to exist. I'd take a peek over the fences and in hidden places to see what I could find, and once found this may give you a better idea of where the main runways will be. These are the best places to put gopher bait. Dropping the bait down into this feeding hole may not be tempting enough for the animal. 

Or, if you are stuck with nothing more than these feeding holes in the lawn you may want to try trapping. The hole could be enlarged slightly to accommodate a trap set vertically down into that hole, attaching it to a post at the top so the gopher cannot drag the trap away. Trapping in these vertical shafts can be effective, and according to some of the resources I have read on gopher trapping it doesn't particularly matter whether or not you cover the hole to exclude light. Either way the gopher, hopefully, will investigate what has happened to his nice, neat tunnel and be caught. The Macabee Trap may be smaller and more easily fit into this vertical shaft. 

If you find the soil mounds in a neighbor's yard, and I sure think it would be weird to find them too far from these feeding holes, you of course would need that neighbor's permission to do any work on their property. Again, it would seem odd for a gopher to want to shove a lot of soil very far through his tunnel system, and making a new tunnel to the surface on a frequent basis  to exclude the soil is more their nature. Is there any chance these might be burrows of some other animal, such as Norway rats. I'm not sure what they do with the dirt they excavate, but they definitely do not pile it like gophers do. Perhaps the "feeding" on the lawn that you see is instead just the worn pathway of the rat. Look for other signs such as fecal pellets in that immediate area or pathways extending away from the hole. 

View past Ask Mr. Pest Control questions.