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.

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