Seattle gophers, with their powerful forequarters and long claws are powerful diggers.
They construct massive underground highways of tunnels and can dig through underground
cables, electrical wires and duct systems. They can wreck havoc on septic systems, sprinkler
systems, and irrigation pipes. They can rip apart a pool or pond liner with their powerful
digging and tunneling. Because of their voracious appetites and hording habits they will consume
huge amounts of seedlings, dig up roots and bulbs, gnaw bark off trees, and decimate crops. Their
digging is known to destroy the roots of plants, grass, and crops.
A beautiful landscaped yard, tidy vegetable garden, golf course, athletic field, or farmer’s field of crops can be ruined in a very short time by the Washington gopher population. The fan shaped mountains of dirt that surround the opening of their tunnels can be large enough to cause damage to a vehicle or piece of farm equipment. A lone gopher can move 4 tons of dirt by itself in a single year. It will create more than 300 of these dangerous mounds of dirt per year. These tunnels, or Seattle gopher towns as they are called, can contain hundreds of gophers at one time. Gophers are extremely territorial, and will vehemently defend their homes, becoming very aggressive.
The extreme tunneling can lead to instability of the ground itself, and cause serious soil erosion. Structures built on top of large Washington gopher towns have been known to become unstable. Gophers can carry rabies, and LCMV, a nasty virus rodents can pass on to people. This disease is contracted by coming in contact with infected urine. Other less likely diseases that can be carried by these rodents are Leptospirosis, Hantavirus, and the plague. Seattle gophers are a favorite food to many other predators like coyotes, foxes, skunks, big cats snakes, and feral dogs. The presence of a gopher population on your property can attract these other undesirable animals to your area. If you discover signs of gophers you should immediately take action to eradicate as quickly as possible.
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