Test Your Pest Knowledge: Gopher Fact or Fiction?

gopher exterminator

Even if you’re a lover of all creatures great and small, no one wants to deal with a pest on their property. But if you aren’t overly familiar with yard-dwelling creatures, you might not realize that the one messing up your lawn is actually a gopher. The best way to remove these animals is to call a gopher exterminator. Before you do, you might want to familiarize yourself with some facts about gophers. Test your knowledge with our little test below and be sure to contact us with any questions you might have.


    • Pocket gophers were named as such because they’re small enough to fit in your pocket.

      ANSWER: FICTION. Your gopher exterminator might inform you that while these creatures are relatively small (weighing anywhere from eight ounces to two pounds, typically), that’s not why they’re called pocket gophers. Their name actually comes from another physical feature — their cheeks! They have large, furry pouches there that they use to hold lots of food (i.e., plants and roots from your lawn) to bring back to their burrows.


    • Gophers don’t live very long, but they waste no time in becoming independent and productive.

      ANSWER: FACT. A gopher’s average lifespan in the wild is one to three years. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about hiring a gopher removal service. These animals may breed only once or twice per year, but young gophers are weaned and ready to make their own burrows by the time they’re five weeks old. That means you could experience even more yard damage from gophers in a little more than a month’s time!


    • Gophers hibernate during the winter.

      ANSWER: FICTION. Some homeowners assume they don’t need to worry about calling a gopher exterminator in the colder months. But unlike some other yard pests (like groundhogs), gophers are actually active all year round. They can eat up your yard during any season and at any time of day. Just because you don’t see them all the time doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They rarely come out of their burrows when they’re busy eating up your yard!


    • Like moles, gophers are blind.

      ANSWER: FICTION. They aren’t blind, but their eyesight is pretty poor. Their hearing isn’t great, either! But to make up for it, they have a highly attuned sense of touch. Their tails and whiskers help them to navigate their environments — and their shortcomings definitely don’t hold them back from creating extensive tunnel networks underground!


    • Gophers are ravenous eaters.

      ANSWER: FACT. They may be small, but they can eat up to 60% of their body weight in vegetation each and every day. That means bad news for your garden or yard! Although they love tubers and roots, they aren’t incredibly discerning when it comes to their diets. They’ll eat herbs, shrubs, trees, forbs, bulbs, seeds, berries, grass, and leaves.


  • Because gophers are rarely spotted, it’s tough to tell when they’re in your yard.

    ANSWER: FICTION. They are a rare sight, but they do leave evidence behind. They create gopher mounds, which are piles of soil in crescent or kidney shapes with a distinctive “plug” that marks the entrance to their tunnels. Mole hills are somewhat similar in appearance, except that those are often symmetrical and cone-shaped. Gophers may also clip trees and shrubs just above the ground’s surface, damage roots of trees and saplings, or gnaw through electrical or water lines. But if you’re ever in doubt, you should contact a gopher exterminator to determine exactly what you’re dealing with.

Getting rid of gophers is no easy feat; many homeowners find out the hard way that they’re no match for these clever creatures. That’s why it’s important to contact an informed and experienced professional to handle the job. To learn more about gophers or to determine what pest might be plaguing your yard, get in touch with us today.

Gophers Vs. Groundhogs: Yard Pests Explained

gopher services

Now that your yard is lush and green again, certain visitors might come to feast on your grass and other plants. But for those who take pride in their garden, these furry pests won’t be a welcoming sight. Before you can take action, it’s important to know who is actually responsible for eating all your greenery and digging up holes. In today’s post, we’ll be talking about the main differences between two similar-looking animals: gophers and groundhogs. After reading this post, you should be able to determine whether you’ll need to contact gopher services to get rid of gophers or whether groundhogs are the true bane of your existence.

It’s easy to confuse a gopher for a groundhog (particularly when groundhogs are young). Both are brown-ish in color, relatively furry, and like to dig holes in the ground. But the two species actually aren’t even related. Before you start making plans to remove gophers in your yard, make sure that what you’re seeing actually fits in with the following features.

All About Gophers


    • Class: The animals that gopher services are familiar with are rodents, of which there are 34 different species in the western hemisphere. In the U.S., 13 different species of gophers can be found. These animals belong to the suborder known as Castorimorpha and the family of Geomyoidae. They’re related to pocket mice, kangaroo rats, and kangaroo mice. The pocket gopher is the most well-known type of gopher in these parts.


    • Appearance: If you’re thinking of contacting the experts for gopher trapping, taking a close look at the creature in question might give you a good idea of what you’re dealing with. From far away, these two creatures might look alike. But when you take a closer look, their appearances differ quite a bit. Gophers are quite small, typically weighing only two pounds or so. They also have hairless tails, pink feet, and protruding teeth (usually of a yellow or brown shade). They also have cheek pockets — this is where pocket gophers get their name from! — in which they carry food.


  • Eating Habits: Gophers will eat just about anything they can find in your garden (hence why so many homeowners have a need for gopher trapping!), but they especially love roots and tubers. This might explain why plants you’ve recently put in aren’t thriving the way you hoped. And because gophers can often stay underground to munch, burrowing and digging along their buffet route, it’s relatively rare to spot a gopher out on the surface of your lawn.

Now that you’re a bit more familiar with these creatures, you’ll be able to determine when to place a call to your local company that specializes in gopher services. But what makes these animals different from groundhogs (also known as woodchucks)?

All About Groundhogs


    • Class: You might have assumed groundhogs and gophers were at least related in some way. But actually, groundhogs are more closely related to squirrels, prairie dogs, and chipmunks than they are to gophers. Groundhogs belong to the marmot group, the Sciuromorpha order, and the Sciuridae family. They’re actually among the largest of the marmot group, which contains 15 different species total.


    • Appearance: As previously mentioned, groundhogs are quite a bit bigger than gophers, weighing in at around 13 pounds on the higher end. They have white teeth and a short tail covered in thick fur. Their feet are dark brown or black. And you’ll often see groundhogs moving around on the ground’s surface with a characteristic waddle.


  • Eating Habits: Groundhogs hibernate in the winter, but you’ll see them foraging for food in the spring and summer. Unlike gophers, who keep lots of food in their burrows, groundhogs focus on fattening up during the warmer months. They tend to love fruits and vegetation, though they’ll eat roots as well. And while they can create holes, their eating habits often result in more damage to your trees than to the ground itself.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to discern whether you’re dealing with yard damage from gophers or some other creature entirely. For more information on our gopher services, please contact us today.

The WORST Ways To Get Rid of Gophers (And What Really Works)

how to trap a gopherIf you’re an avid gardener or pride yourself on having a beautiful lawn, you know how frustrating it is to find that some creature has poked holes (literally) in your plans. Gophers, in particular, are a plague to many California homeowners because of how ambitious they are. They eat 60% of their body weight in vegetation (read: your plants) every single day and they make tunnels that can reach up to 2,000 square feet. Essentially, that means they can wreak havoc on your lawn — and they’re notoriously difficult to get rid of.

You might be wondering how to trap a gopher so that it won’t bother anyone ever again. While you may have DIY’d certain pest control tasks in the past, the truth is that gopher trapping is a lot harder than it looks. There are a number of methods that homeowners (and even some pest control companies!) have tried, to no avail. If you want to know how to trap a gopher, you should steer clear of the methods below.

Want to Remove Gophers? DON’T…

  • Flood their tunnels: Some homeowners will try to drown gophers using their garden hoses. It may sound like a foolproof method, but it’s really anything but. A gopher’s tunnel is expansive, with burrows to store food, raise young, and provide safety. Because these burrows are located closer to the surface than the actual tunnels, the water from your hose might not do much good. Not only will gophers like the softer ground for digging, but the water could end up damaging your property or even flooding your neighbors’ yards. In some cases, flooding can help you collapse their tunnels, but it’s usually not worth the trouble.
  • Use fire: You might be tempted to smoke the gophers out or resort to flames to get rid of the problem for good. Some people use gasoline, propane, or butane to light the tunnels on fire. But even if you manage to eliminate the gophers, you’ll probably do a lot of damage to your property in the process. At best, you’ll kill your grass and plants; at worst, you could lose control of the fire and end up setting a structure aflame. And while there are propane-powered devices that are meant to get rid of gophers, they can be expensive, impractical, or even illegal. In the end, it’s best not to take that big of a risk when figuring out how to trap a gopher.
  • Give them gum: There’s an urban legend that chewing gum can solve all your gopher problems. The idea is that if you put a stick of gum in a gopher tunnel, the animal will eat it and will eventually expire when the gum gets stuck in its intestines. While one Southern California man did actually hold the unofficial record for trapping gophers using this exact method, agricultural agencies actually discourage homeowners from trying this technique. It ultimately sounds a bit too easy, which may be why a lot of experts warn that you shouldn’t expect immense success with it.

Here’s what actually works: hiring the professionals. While the pest control industry grew by 2.9% between 2012 and 2017, that doesn’t mean every pest control company knows how to trap a gopher the right way. By working with the experts, you’ll have peace of mind that your property will remain fully intact and that the gophers will be gone in no time.

Gopher elimination is a tricky business, but you don’t have to find out the hard way that these aforementioned techniques won’t work. When you need to know how to trap a gopher, you’ll need to hire the experts. To find out more about our gopher removal services and why our process is so effective, please contact us today.

The Top 6 Essential Tips For Getting Rid Of Gophers

gopher netting

Gophers may not be your go-to animal when you think of pests, but don’t let that fool you. These hairy little critters can cause a whole lot of damage in a short amount of time. In fact, the tunnels that gophers burrow can reach between 200 to 2,000 square feet.

If gophers are making a feeding frenzy out of your yard burrowing tunnels in your landscaping, remember these six essential tips for getting rid of gophers.


  1. Start with prevention. Put wire mesh down beneath your flower beds before you start planting bulbs. This will keep gophers from burrowing their way into your garden.
  2. Take action ASAP. As soon as you notice a gopher problem, take action immediately. Gophers can product up to four offspring twice a year. What’s more, they can consume up to 60% of their body weight. That’s a lot of your landscaping being eaten away.
  3. Wear gloves when setting traps. When you touch gopher traps with your bare hands, you contaminate them with your scent. Wear gloves while setting the traps to keep the gophers from being able to tell you were there.
  4. Don’t DIY gopher poisons. In most cases, DIY gopher poisons don’t work and can be a general waste of money. Instead, hire a gopher exterminator who’s experienced in gopher elimination.
  5. Get the necessary permits you need. Before you can trap gophers, live or otherwise, you need to obtain the necessary permits in your area to do so. This is why another reason why it’s a good idea to contact your local gopher trapping service because they already have the permits necessary to remove the gophers from your property.
  6. Don’t forget to fill in tunnels. Once you’ve gotten rid of the gophers in your yard, be sure to remember to fill in the tunnels. When you leave the tunnels open, you risk more gophers coming back. What’s more, other pests could make their way to your yard including snakes, mice, rats, skunks, and beetles.

To get rid of gophers in your yard, it may be in your best interest to trap gophers using gopher netting. A gopher removal service can also help to ensure your garden is gopher free. To learn more about gopher netting and gopher abatement, contact Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service today.

Pest Problem? Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late: Gopher Gold With a Professional Trapping Service

gopher trappingGophers can be a nuisance on your property as well as pose a safety hazard to you and your family. The last thing you want is for someone to be walking in your yard and step in a gopher hole and twist their ankle.

You can try to scare these critters off or flush them out as much as you’d like, but a gopher is a resilient creature and can live between one and three years, and breed exponentially in that time frame.

Gopher removal is a viable option to eliminating your rodent problem, and if you’re wondering how to trap a gopher, then this guide is for you.

There are roughly three methods of gopher trapping that you can use.

Wire Traps

This kind of trap looks more like a spring-loaded pressure plate than anything else but can be an effective means of getting rid of gophers. When a gopher gets caught in a wire trap, it’s effectively rendered immobile by wire prongs. The original and probably most well known is the Macabee wire trap, although there are other variations that you could use.

Box Traps

Quite literally a box, this type of trap functions similar to a rat trap. Once inside the box, the gopher triggers a release mechanism and a spring-loaded wire bar clamps down, holding the gopher still. Box traps started out as wood traps but have evolved into a modern version, which is plastic. The Black Box Trap is one of the most well-known gopher box traps on the market today and can be an effective way to trap gophers.

Black Hole Traps

In essence, this trap is an evolved box trap that effectively tricks the gopher into entering. It’s shaped like a long cylindrical tube that is made to look like a gopher tunnel. Once a gopher enters unwittingly, a mechanism inside the tubing traps the gopher in place.

While going out and using one of these traps yourself can be an effective method in the short term, using a professional gopher trapping service is the best way to ensure long-term effects. Many gopher trapping services can humanely and efficiently eliminate your gopher problem without using poisons.

So don’t keep getting frustrated by the pesky burrowers, call a gopher removal service today.

Ground Squirrel Damage in Palo Alto California

Ground squirrel damage
Ground squirrels have burrowed under this walkway causing the bricks to collapse in Palo Alto California.

We get calls to get rid of ground squirrels All Around The Bay Area. The picture above is a good example of what customers have to deal with when ground squirrels burrow under their concrete. We are treating this ground squirrel problem in Palo Alto California and we have seen the problem reduced considerably. The damage will last for years and years so it’s important to stop these animals as soon as they are seen.

The methods we use to get rid of ground squirrels are traps and baits depending on the size of the problem and the location.
For example, we will trap a few ground squirrels near a school where they animals are digging holes in the grass.
But in a large Vineyard we may choose to use bait because of the huge cost associated with trapping large ground squirrel populations that occur on the peninsula.

Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service specializes in the control of ground squirrels, gophers, moles, meadow voles, and rats in the garden in the following Bay Area Counties: Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda County.

We are licensed by the state to perform animal pest control. #39857

Contact us today for more information on our service options!

Not every gopher in a San Jose middle school field makes piles of dirt every day.


The above video is an example that we want to share with our customers to illustrate how they can have gophers hidden right underneath their feet. Sometimes the telltale sign of “kidney bean” shaped gopher piles are absent. This is a middle school in San Jose California where we are working to remove gophers from the baseball field.  We see this kind of damage throughout school districts in San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Los Altos every week.

It’s easy to get rid of gophers in these kinds of settings with a regular trapping program. There is no need for poison. Gophers are easy to trap with the right technique. Smith’ Gopher Trapping Service has been providing gopher eradication to school districts in the Bay Area year after year with great results. We are safe, fast, and effective.  We have cleaned all the gophers out of more than five San Jose school districts as well as San Mateo, Castro Valley, Oakland, Novato, Mill Valley, and Los Altos schools.


Call Smith’s today for a free estimate for your home, school, Park, or commercial landscape. We get rid of gophers from Monterey to Mill Valley and in the Eastbay we go all the way to Concord and Fremont every week.

Why a Gopher’s Diet is Bad News For Your Garden

gopher trapping

If you’ve got a green thumb and live in an area where pocket gophers are prevalent, it’s important to take precautions. While these little critters may be cute in theory, they’ll wreak havoc in your yard. But what can you do about it? First, you must know thine enemy — starting with what they eat. In this post, we’ll discuss a bit more about what kinds of foods gophers love and what actions you need to take to ensure your garden isn’t taken over by gophers.

What exactly do gophers eat?

The short answer is: a lot. They’re plant-lovers through and through, and they’re not all that discerning. They’ll eat grass, roots, shrubs, seeds, bulbs, and flowering plants. They don’t care whether their food sources are underground or above. This makes it even harder to tell whether you need to consider gopher trapping because you won’t even see all the damage they’ve done!

Gophers will really take a shine to your vegetable garden, if you have one. They tend to like plants with high water content. In particular, they’re drawn to carrots, beets, potatoes, parsnips, asparagus, lettuce, onions and artichokes. They’ll also eat cabbage, broccoli, cilantro, and Brussel sprouts. In addition, they love tulips and most varieties of clover (which means the yard outside your veggie patch isn’t safe, either!).

Are there plants gophers won’t touch?

Gophers consume approximately 60% of their whole body weight in vegetation every single day. That means that most of your garden and yard are vulnerable to these little guys. However, there are certain plants that gophers will avoid.

They’ll usually stay away from sage, lavender, and other plants or herbs with aromatic oils. They don’t particularly like geraniums, amaryllis, marigolds, daffodils, snapdragons, dahlias, or irises either. In general, they don’t like plants that have a strong smell or taste. For example, they may have an aversion to garlic and sour clover.

Gophers will usually stay away from grains like corn or oats, and they don’t have an affinity for squash, peppers, berries, or tomatoes. However, they still might munch on the root systems of your tomato plants if they’re really ravenous. And while the roots of young fruit trees are appetizing to them, mature fruit trees aren’t on their grocery list.

How can I keep gophers out?

Our gopher removal service can be an excellent solution for an infestation, but no gardener wants to have to get rid of gophers after they’ve already destroyed the fruit (and vegetables) of their labor. Being careful about your selection of flowers, fruits, and vegetables can detract gophers from the start, as can physical barriers both underground and above.

However, sometimes these efforts simply aren’t enough, leaving you with no other choice than to trap gophers who try to move in and gorge themselves on your garden buffet. In that case, it’s always better to leave gopher trapping to the professionals. This is especially true when you eat or sell the produce in your garden, as conventional poisons could present a hazard to the environment or even to your family and customers. Plus, gopher trapping is a tricky business; trying to go the DIY route will likely result in frustration and limited results.

For avid gardeners, gophers can be real trouble. But we’ve made gopher trapping our mission so that you can take back your rightful yard. For more information, please contact us today.

Moles, Voles, and Gophers (Oh My!): Who Dug Up the Yard?

getting rid of gophers

No matter where you live — be it on a farm in Kansas or your own version of the Emerald City — you may find that pests try their best to move in and wreak havoc on your property. If they do enough damage, you may find the sentiment that “there’s no place like home” no longer holds true. After all, no one wants a yard that’s covered in holes or a house that’s infested with pests (and we aren’t talking about jitterbugs or flying monkeys).

Fortunately, you don’t have to go “somewhere over the rainbow” to seek out relief. Our experts can help identify the creatures who have invaded your space and make sure they don’t come back. We’ve made getting rid of gophers and other creatures — like moles and voles — our entire business. But it might give you some peace of mind to know a bit more about what you might be dealing with. These tips can help you figure out who dug up that yard and “follow the yellow brick road” to your mole, vole, or gopher removal service — no ruby slippers required.


These solitary creatures are basically blind and don’t often come up to the surface. If you do happen to catch a glimpse of one, they might be on the younger side or are in the midst of trying to find a mate. They’re usually gray, black, brown, or gold and have slender snouts and paddle-like arms. While they do not eat plants (they love earthworms, snails, ants, beetles, and centipedes), they’ll do a lot of damage to your yard. Telltale signs of moles include trails of raised soil (known as surface runways) and deep tunnels that have mounds on top (these are actually known as mole hills!).


Voles, also known as meadow mice, are relatively small but have large appetites. Unlike moles, these guys are actually rodents and have a furry, gray-brown appearance. They’re rather stocky little critters, measuring somewhere between four and 10 inches in length including their tails. They do make lengthy pathways, like both gophers and moles, but they can usually be found near plants and grasses. They may also make shallow holes and create underground dens. They don’t make big mounds like moles do, but they can also do harm to your trees (they love bark!) and other plants.


For many homeowners, getting rid of gophers may be a big concern. Like voles, pocket gophers are rodents. But you’d be more likely to mistake them for a groundhog or large rat than for a mouse. They’re typically between seven and 12 inches long and are mostly brown in appearance, and their yellow buck teeth can always be seen. Gophers make their homes in burrows that consist of many tunnels, which can reach 200 to 2,000 square feet in length! However, you might not even see gopher tunnels; instead, you may see fan-shaped mounds complete with exit holes on the side. You may have only one gopher in your yard, but you’ll still need to consider gopher trapping as just one single creature can create multiple mounds a day and munch on your garden until nothing is left.

These small critters may be cute in theory, but they’re definitely no Toto. If you’ve seen evidence that someone has moved in to your yard, you’ll need to take action fast. Getting rid of gophers, moles, and voles isn’t an easy job, but with our help, you’ll be able to tell those guys to begone. Ready to find out more about our gopher services? Contact us today.

Got Gophers? Here’s How To Tell (And What To Do Next)

gopher removalIf you’re an animal lover, you might have seen pictures of tunneling rodents like gophers and remarked at how cute and industrious they are. But if you have gophers in your yard, you’ll quickly realize how much damage they can cause. While only 13 out of the 34 different species of pocket gophers reside here in the United States, that doesn’t mean they won’t set up shop on your property. If they do, you’ll need to identify the problem quickly and take steps to get rid of gophers right away.

How do I know if I have a gopher problem?
The most obvious sign you’re in need of gopher removal will be the network of tunnels these animals create. Look for crescent-shaped or irregular-shaped mounds around your property with a “plug” at the top (like the hole of a donut). Moles and other critters don’t create mounds like these. You may also find “feeding holes” that are created so that the tunneling gopher can reach the surface and feed on vegetation there. These holes can be anywhere from silver-dollar-sized to three inches across. Coupled with eaten vegetation, these signs should give you a good idea of what you’re dealing with.

Why is fast gopher removal so important?
You do need to prioritize getting rid of gophers once you know you have a problem. Of course, they’re going to feast on your trees, roots, flowers, and other plants all around your property — and that should be reason enough. But in addition to the havoc they’ll wreak on your landscaping, they can cause even more serious damage. They’ve been known to chew through underground utility lines and plastic sprinkler systems, and their network of tunnels and burrows can keep water irrigation away from your yard (which will just damage your property further). Ultimately, this can present a safety hazard and can lead to very expensive repairs. The sooner you pursue gopher removal, the better off your property will be.

Can I get rid of gophers myself?
It’s best to leave pest control to the experts in any situation, but this is especially true when it comes to gophers. Most pest removal companies don’t specialize in this service, and many businesses will employ the use of toxins to eliminate gophers. Our company performs the effective and humane gopher services San Francisco area residents need. If you have questions about our process, we’d be more than happy to explain why it’s faster, more affordable, and more sustainable than other options out there. No matter what, it’s not a good idea to try to tackle your gopher problem yourself.

Getting rid of gophers can be a tricky business, but we’ve made it ours. For more information, please contact our team of experts today.