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Gophers


I have mentioned previously that we have gophers.  They are more correctly called pocket gophers.  They are small furry critters that tunnel underground and can destroy your garden by eating all the tender roots and shoots.  They also make mounds of dirt.

Gopher mounds are round or crescent shaped and often have a small divot or depression at the center. 

Their tunnels are far enough below the surface that the ground doesn't give way when you walk across them.  Except for the mounds I wouldn't know we had gophers at all.  Well, except for the random body parts left near my car by the cats.  And the trenches that the dog digs trying to catch the little varmints.  They must make a scratching digging sound loud enough to attract the dog because she will come to a complete stop in mid-stride and listen.  Then she leaps in the air and pounces on where she thinks the gopher is.  She digs and digs and digs looking for a snack.

Once the gopher mounds have been around a while and driven over a few times they just look like dead patches in the yard.  Except they often sort of make a trail so you can see where the little buggers were heading.

 

Because I've never seen a gopher that was alive and standing still I had to look it up.  They have long nails used for digging, tiny black eyes, huge teeth and a short tail.  And they are just the perfect size for a 75 pound dog's snack.  The little guys get away from Sadie more often than she catches them but she does catch one occasionally.

 

Most of the time Sadie is out in the yard or someplace in the pasture when she tries to dig up a gopher.  Other than the possibility of turning an ankle, these trenches are only a problem when she digs under one of the fences.  I am no longer concerned about Sadie getting into the pastures with the livestock but I don't want her to leave a space large enough for Gus to get in.  I have managed to keep him out of the pastures and don't want him getting in with the animals at all but particularly when I'm not around.  I also don't want Sadie to make a hole large enough for the goats to get out.  We don't have baby goats here and all my goats are pretty large so it hasn't been an issue but I don't want it to become one.