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Northern Pocket Gopher

Copyright Barbara Samuelson 1997

Photographed along the Drakes Estero Trail. The Northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides) was digging up part of the trail just in time for me to catch this image. When he turned full face onto me, he was a truly marvelous sight with two large yellowed front teeth; a face only a mother gopher could love.

Pocket gophers play an important role in the environment, maintaining soil health and serving as prey for a host of other wildlife. For example, pocket gophers excavate enormous amounts of soil (up to three tons per burrow system), which aerates the soil and improves soil texture. They also leave underground food caches that increase soil nutrients and improve soil fertility.


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