Burrowing

Botta’s pocket gopher (Thomomys bottae) is a pocket gopher native to western North America. It is also known as the Valley Pocket Gopher, particularly in California. It is strictly herbivorous, and will often pull plants into the ground by the roots to consume them in the safety of its burrow, where it spends 90% of its life.

The species is highly adaptable, burrowing into a very diverse array of soils from loose sands to tightly packed clays, and from arid deserts to high altitude meadows. The burrows of this species may reach lengths of a hundred feet or more.

It is considered a pest in urban and agricultural areas due to its burrowing habit. However, it is also considered beneficial as its burrows are a key source of aeration for soils in the region. Evidence of the above ground burrows are sometimes called “gopher eskers.”

Main predators of this species include American Badgers, Coyotes, Long-tailed Weasels, and Snakes, but other predators include Skunks, Owls, Bobcats, and Hawks.

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