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Description of Gopher

´╗┐Gophers are small, herbivorous rodents. They are rat-sized, but somewhat more rotund than rats. They form the families Geomyidae and Thomomyini, which have eight genera, thirty-five species, and hundreds of subspecies. Gophers burrow in the ground and do not leave their burrows during daylight hours. Different species are found in deserts, shrublands, and grasslands across much of North and Central America, from central and southwestwern Canada through the western and southeastern United States, Mexico and south to the Panama-Colombia border. Striped gophers (Citellu tridecemlineatus, prairie squirrels), which have thirteen body stripes, live fromthe western plains of the United States to Panama. Camas rats (Thomomys bulbivorus) are the largest gophers, reaching body lengths of over one foot. Plains pocket gophers (Geomys bursarius) are dark brown, and common in the Mississippi Valley. French settlers in North America first noticed that gopher burrows honeycombed the soil and named them gaufres (French for "honeycomb"). These animals all have pouches (pockets) in their cheeks, and are more correctly called pocket gophers (pouched rats). Pocket gophers are divided into twenty-six Geomyini species and nine Thomomyini species. The main gopher types include eastern pocket gophers, yellow pocket gophers, and western pocket gophers.

Physical Characteristics of Gophers

Gophers are plump, ratlike rodents, up to 1.25 feet long and covered with soft, short, black and red-brown to gray fur. All have whiskers, to help them navigate underground and at night, and two large, fur-lined pockets, one in each cheek. These pockets, used to carry food, lead to the name pocket gopher. The pockets are lined with fur, and a gopher can turn them inside out to clean them. Gophers have wide, blunt heads, with underdeveloped ears and eyes. Their incisors are large and well designed for gnawing. Gophers have short limbs and feet with powerful claws, longer on the forefeet. They dig tunnels with the claws of the front feet. Their thick, almost hairless tails, about three inches long, are sensitive tactile organs, used to help them find their way around their tunnels when moving backward. Gophers are able to run backward about as quickly as forward. Their body lengths range from 4.5 to 17 inches, and they weigh between 0.75 and 2 pounds.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

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