Gopher & Mole Identification


Gophers are about the same size of squirrels (see last pic) but the large foreclaws enable it to dig at quick speeds underground.  Most tunnels are 12″-18″ deep so they retain their shape despite any above ground traffic or activity.

Unlike moles, whose tunnels are visible along the surface of the ground, gopher tunnels are not visible, only their mounds.  The mounds are simply the total sum of soil removed from a segment of tunnel, so the larger the mound, the longer the tunnel segment.  Segments tend to be 5′-7′ lengths long. The mounds, when fresh, appear fan-shaped (pic 3) because the gopher throws out the soil primarily in one direction because of the slope of the exit tunnel. Once the segment excavation is complete, the gopher will then seal the hole with soil (soil plug) to prevent predators or rain from entering (pic 3).

If you want to do further research, check out our trusted resources to learn more about this particular pest.

University of California: Ag & Natural Resources


Moles are slightly smaller than gophers so their tunnels are much narrower in diameter.  And unlike gophers, whose tunnels are deep underground and not visible on the surface, mole tunnels are visible.  They appear as shallow ridges that zig-zag along the surface of the ground.  The ground will often feel “mushy” to walk on where the mole tunnels exist but the ground is covered by dense grass and the tunnels are not easily visible.

Moles will have exit mounds, as well, but they are much smaller than gopher mounds and are conical-shaped instead of fan-shaped. As they dig, they tend to push the soil upward which causes the ridge of soil along the surface.

If you want to do further research, check out our trusted resources to learn more about this particular pest.


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