Pocket Gophers (Family Geomyidae)
Pocket Gophers,Thomomys. Head and body 4.8–7 in (12–18 cm), tail 2–3.8 in (5–9.5 cm); yellowish brown-gray fur; head small and flattened; neck short; shoulders and forearms broad and muscular; eyes small; fur-lined internal cheek pouches on either side of mouth. Two species of pocket gophers inhabit the White Mountains: the Northern Pocket Gopher (T. talpoides ), which ranges from the floor of Owens Valley to 8,200 ft (2,500 m); and the Valley Pocket Gopher (T. bottae ) (Fig. 12.11), occurring from the valley floor to about 10,500 ft (3,200 m). Preferred habitat for both is around meadows in soft soil, rarely in densely wooded or rocky areas. Pocket Gophers are strictly herbivorous, feeding on a wide range of foods including roots and succulent vegetation. The long, curved claws and chisel-like incisors are used to excavate tunnels below the ground surface. Gopher activity is apparent from the characteristic fan-shaped pile of soil marked by concentric rings where soil has been pushed up from below. Predators include owls, hawks, Badgers, Coyotes, and weasels. Young are born in the spring, and number three to six to a litter.