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.

Pebble Beach Monterey Carmel Gopher Trapping and Mole Trapping

We are now trapping gophers and moles, and killing ground squirrels inMonterey, CA, Carmel. CA, and Pebble Beach, CA  including Carmel Valley.  We offer poison free trapping plus optional poison for heavy ground squirrel problems.

Learn why we’re special by clicking here for more info on how our service works. We have been covering the Bay Area for the last 4 years and have 35 great reviews on, take a look!

Or click here to contact us for a quick and easy quote to have gophers, moles or ground squirrels eliminated from your yard.

We return phone calls quickly, so please leave a message if we’re not able to answer (we’ve probably got our head in a gopher hole)

We also trap gophers in the greater Bay Area, for more info, click here.

Services we offer:

1. Weekly trapping of gophers moles and voles

2. Monthly maintenance of ground squirrel poison bait stations

3. Proactive monthly maintenance of gopher and mole populations.


Classic Example of Mole Damage
Classic Example of Mole Damage
Ground Squirrels Digging Under Shed
Ground Squirrels Digging Under Shed
A picture of small holes in lawn caused by meadow voles.
Meadow Vole Damage in Woodside, CA
Ground squirrel in burrow
Ground squirrel in burrow

Ground Squirrel Poison as an Alternative to Trapping

Smith’s Gopher Trapping can provide Ground Squirrel Poison as an Alternative to Trapping

When ground squirrels have taken over, poison can be an effective method for rapid population reduction. When the ground squirrels are under control, nontoxic control can resume.

Smith’s Nontoxic ground squirrel trapping is best for the environment, but it can be prohibitively expensive when dealing with dozens or even hundreds of ground squirrels.

The CA Dept of Pesticide Regulation has strict rules on how ground squirrels can be eliminated. This link describes the approved ways to set up poison stattions.

Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service uses traps and or poison to quickly eliminate grond squirrls from vineyards and hillsides where they cause property damage and crop loss in Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Alameda County.

Some of the traps and poison bait stations that we use can be seen in the images below:


Wilco Bait Station  for Ground Squirrel Bait

Wilco Ground Squirrel Poison Bait Station
Wilco Ground Squirrel Poison Bait Station. Ground Squirrels enter this and feed . People and pets can not reach the bait.









“T” Style Bait Station for Ground Squirrel bait

T style bait station for ground squirrels
PVC Ground Squirrel Bait Station (Photo from JT Eaton) The ground squirrels can enter to feed but a person or pet could not reach the bait due to small opening.









Conibear Trap (This is always set for ground squirrels within an enclosure where people and pets cannot reach)

Ground squirrel trap Conibear 110
A traditional lethal conibear trap for ground squirrels. This is set within a box with a small opening that only ground squirrel can enter. This uses nontoxic bait to lure the ground squirrel into the trap. The squirrel is killed swiftly.










Smith’s Gopher Trapping Provides Ground Squirrel poison, trapping, and repellant services from Santa Cruz to San Jose to Los Altos to Woodside weekly.

We can be reached at 408-871-6988 or

We Return Phone calls!!

Smith’s Gopher Trapping Now Serving Santa Cruz

We are now trapping gophers and moles, and repelling ground squirrels in the Santa Cruz, CA vicinity including the Santa Cruz Mountains.  All of our methods are poison free. We’re better at what we do than the poisoners anyway.

Learn why we’re special by clicking here for more info on how our service works.

Or click here to contact us for a quick and easy quote to have gophers moles or ground squirrels eliminated from your yard. We return phone calls quickly, so please leave a message if we’re not able to answer (we’ve probably got our head in a gopher hole)

We also trap gophers in the greater Bay Area, for more info, click here.

Gopher Pile in Bonny Doon CA
This is a very fresh pile made by a gopher in a lawn.
Gopher eating jade in Bonny Doon
This gopher is feeding on the roots of this jade plant

Nontoxic, Organic, Heathy Schools Act Exempt Pest Control, Humane Ground Squirrel Control that Works

We have been developing our technique to eliminate ground squirrels with out poison. Our method is very safe, even for the squirrels…and our method is Healthy Schools Act compliant!

We can drive them off the property to a place they belong without any side effects to you , the nevironment, or even the animals.


Of course, poison has it’s place and sometimes its the best way, but in many cases repelling ground squirrels is all the customer wants and needs.


We can clear out a soccer field in 2 weeks and stay Healthy Schools Act compliant all the while using approved exempt products to eradicate ground squirrels in sports fields and schools.

If you have any questions about this or any of our posts, please call any time we’d be glad to talk to you. Bay Area 408-871-6988  Chico/ Durham 530-592-0840. Leave a message if we can’t answer (we’ve probably got our head in a gopher hole) and we promise to call you back.


Don’t Use Ordinary Chicken Wire for Raised Beds, Use Gopher Wire

Chicken wire can rust away in less then 3 years leaving you unprotected. Use “gopher wire”

Gophers will get into your raised beds as soon as they find the chicken wire has rusted away.

Use stainless steel or double galvanized “gopher wire” which is made specifically to last in underground applications like lining raised beds, making gopher baskets, etc.

I saw this article on the web today about lining your raised beds with chicken wire. Link: I wanted to let our readers know of the shortcoming of chicken wire or sometimes called aviary wire. It does not have thick enough galvanization to protect it from the oxidative effects of being in moist soil. I can rust away in 2-4 years.

There are wire mesh made especially for burial under raised beds to exclude gophers. We at Smith’s Gopher Trapping feel lining your beds is an important step to take in the garden.

If you search for “gopher wire” you will find suppliers of stainless steel wire and double-galvanized wire. In the Bay Area some landscaping suppliers carry gopher wire in stock. I know Ewing Irrigation typically does. Maybe Horizon and John Deere do as well.  For the sake of simplicity I’ll list their websites here though I have no affiliation of any kind with these companies and I apologize if I am leaving out any smaller locally owned companies that stock gopher wire in the bay area.   Ewing  Horizon  John Deere Landscapes

If you have a gopher trapping program in place,  and you have gopher wire under your raised beds, you are probably in the best place as a gardener.

If you have any questions about this or any of our posts, please call any time we’d be glad to talk to you. Bay Area 408-871-6988  Chico/ Durham 530-592-0840. Leave a message if we can’t answer (we’ve probably got our head in a gopher hole) and we promise to call you back.

Smith's gopher car under dogwood.
Chico Ca is a nice place to be a gopher trapper in the spring


Excluding Gophers From your Garden

Excluding Gophers From Your Garden

January 20, 2015 by Zachary Smith- Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service


I cam across a blog post today from the Contra Costa Master Gardener’s about what do do about gophers if you want to keep them out of your garden but not kill them. The article on excluding gophers can be found here.

This comes up often. We understand the interest in not killing gophers or moles in the garden. The garden is about cultivating life!  Man gardeners refrain from the use of anything that is designed to kill, like herbicides and pesticides. A gopher trap is not a good solution for this type of gardner.  The problem is pretty complicated though, because it is not really feasible to live-trap and relocate a gopher. Yes it can be done, but there is the age old question of “would it be better to swiftly kill a pest or accidentally injure it and cause lifelong suffering in our attempt to humanely relocate it?”    I feel that it is the best interest of the gopher that it never have to be handled by a human or a contraption, but that it be excluded from the garden altogether.

How to Keep a Gopher Out of a Garden

First off, if you have a gopher now, and you dont’t kill it, you can assume that you will always have a gopher (or many gophers as time progresses) so you will be best off to just build your garden around that fact and start with raised beds. Raised beds are the easiest path to excluding gophers. Line the bottoms of these raised beds with a heavily galvanized wire mesh, that has openings in the mesh no larger than 1/2 inch. You can also find stainless steel gopher wire that will last a lot longer. Don’t use chicken wire,  it rusts away very quickly. When your wire rusts, you will need to excavate all the soil out of your garden beds and reinstall a new screen of wire. This is a lot of work so you want the best gopher wire you can find. Excluding gophers should not cause more damage to the garden than they would create themselves!

Those noise making devises sold in stores tend to not work well at excluding gophers,  and they are annoying to be around. There is also little to be gained from repellants or all the various products that folks may tell you to put in or around a gopher hole to repel the animal. I suggest staying away from these type of gopher repellants because they are taking time away from getting to your final gopher solution, and time is of the essence!

Coming to Terms With Killing Gophers

I trap a lot of gophers, and yes its a little heartbreaking to think about, but we know this fact:  Kill one today or be forced to kill 5 tomorrow. If you have a gopher-free yard it is often best to kill a new arrival. Any gardener will agree that having a yard overrun by gophers is about the worst case situation anyone could ask for.  You will rue the day you let the new critter begin to breed and populate your property. If simple exclusion ins’t working, we really suggest that you have them trapped and killed. (It is a swift death). We don’t recommend using poison. It is less effective and can find its way into the bodies of other animals. See more: “How to trap a gopher”.

About the Author

Zach Smith is the owner of Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service in San Jose, CA.  He started his business as a professional landscaper. Zach needed a better solution to dealing with gophers in his clients’ yards and could not find it in the local marketplace. Smith’s Serves the entire bay area from Santa Clara County, to Marin and Contra Costa Counties. He be reached at 408-871-6988 or or Contact Us Here

Zach Smith, Gopher Trapper
Smith’s Gopher Trapping serves the entire San Francisco Bay Area


Gophers blamed for injury to schoolgirl in Fremont CA

Gophers blamed for injury to school girl in Fremont CA

To view the news report click here


A young lady playing on the sports fields at Thornton High School in Fremont fell while running on afield heavily infested with gophers. Witnesses said it looked as though she fell because she tripped over a gopher pile or stepped in a gopher hole.

Her family fears that she may not be able to play sports again due tot he severe injury she sustained to her leg.  Apparently broken badly and requiring a titanium rod to repair.

This exemplifies why it is so important to get rid of gophers in school fields. Many schools do not have gopher control in the budget until it is too late. A law suit often is the result of these gopher-related injuries.

It is not hard to keep a school or park field free of gophers or moles. A simple trapping program will eradicate them quickly and keep the populations near zero all the time.

Gopher damage to play surface
Gopher damage can cause injury by making fields unsafe