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When Do Gophers Come Out of Their Holes?

A macro shot of a gopher.

Gophers are well-known furry rodents who are known for spending time in yards and eating vegetation that does not belong to them. If your property is home to gopher holes or if you are simply curious about getting to know more about gophers, you might be wondering when gophers come out of their holes. Gophers are most likely to come out of their holes during the evening hours and even after sundown, although they are also known to be outgoing and are rarely afraid of making an appearance in daylight. 

When you are familiar with a gopher’s way of life as well as its schedule in your own yard, you can determine when the gopher is most likely to leave in an attempt to find food or other goodies around your home or property itself.

Do all gophers burrow in yards and in the ground?

A portrait photo of a gopher.

Yes. Gophers are known for their ability to burrow into the ground in order to live and hibernate in between periods of eating and seeking mates.

How big are gopher tunnels?

A gopher outside the tunnel.

Gophers are amazing creatures that can be quite sufficient when left on their own. Some of the tunnels a gopher will dig and build can be up to 2,000 feet in length. This length of a tunnel allows the gopher to move between properties while still remaining safe and protected from potential predators.

When am I most likely to see a gopher in my yard?

A gopher on the ground.

If you have a gopher hole or home on your property, you will likely spot the gopher at one point or another. Your best option to view the gopher is to wait patiently until the evening or until after dark, especially if the gopher on your property does not seem very active during the day.

How can I improve my chances of seeing the gopher?

A two gophers on a tree.

Steer clear of spending too much time in your yard, as the gopher will then only prefer to come out during the night. Use cameras and motion detection devices to send an alert whenever the gopher is out of his hole or whenever there is detected motion and action happening in your yard or on your property near the gopher’s hole.

Tips to Tell if a Gopher Hole is Still Active

If you come upon a gopher hole in your backyard, you may be wondering if it is still active and if so, how you can lure the gopher out of it. There are a few tips to keep in mind when checking to see if a gopher hole is still active, including:

  • Check the hole for freshly dug dirt. The dirt will appear fresh and may even feel moist upon touching it.
  • Observe the gopher hole to see if there is a crescent moon shape made out of dirt near the hole, as this is often an indication that there is a gopher presently living in the hole or using the hole as a mode of transportation.

Removing a Gopher

If you want to remove a gopher from your property and you are ready to get rid of the gopher tunnels in your yard, you have the option to lure the gopher out yourself first. Although this task is not always easy and does not always provide immediate results, it will allow you to prevent a gopher from digging intricate tunnels that can ultimately interfere with your own vegetation and in some cases, even your plumbing system.

Using Bait

One option to help attract gophers that are digging in your yard is to use a form of bait that will appeal to them. If you want to help encourage a gopher to leave its hole and stop burrowing in your yard, you may need to use bait to then trap the gopher before its release. Some of the most appealing types of bait for a gopher might include:

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Peanut butter
  • Alfafa greens

If you choose the route of using bait to catch and capture your gopher, it is best to place the bait directly in the area(s) of the trap you have set up.

Using a Gopher Repellant

Another way to attempt to remove a gopher from your yard or to attempt to prevent them from entering it is to use some form of repellant. A gopher repellant can prevent gophers from even entering your yard to burrow, which can keep your yard from becoming a tunnel haven and a mess. While using a gopher repellant sounds appealing at first glance, it is not always the most effective nor the most efficient method of dealing with a gopher, especially one who has made the decision to already burrow in your yard.

Some gopher repellents that may or may not help to deter a gopher from your backyard or outdoor property might include:

  • Castor oil pellets
  • Peppermint oil
  • Pet waste (from dogs or other pets that may ward off a gopher)
  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Scraps of fish

You can typically place gopher repellents outdoors near gopher holes or any points of the entrance you believe the gopher is using to access your property. You can also place them near or inside of a gopher hole if one has already been dug out in your yard.

Alternative Methods of Removing Gophers

Unfortunately, using bait and repellents does not always scare gophers away, as they are not fearful or extremely skittish. However, there are also the following options to remove gophers from your yard:

  • Fumigation
  • Flooding

Choosing to fumigate the gopher holes in your yard is expensive and may also cause damage to your soil and surrounding yard. In addition, there is no way to guarantee that the gopher will survive a fumigation attempt. Flooding a gopher hole is another option, but is not always recommended.

Even if you flood a gopher hole, the gopher may simply seek out higher land to tunnel in again. Additionally, using the flooding method can ultimately cause more harm than good to your surrounding land, soil, and grass. While dealing with a gopher in the yard is a hassle, there are a few ways to go about dealing with a gopher and eliminating his or her ability to build a tunnel on your property.

With the right resources, tools, and bait, you can move forward with your plan to remove the gopher from your yard entirely.