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Difference between Gophers and Ground Squirrels

Difference between Gophers and Ground Squirrels

Although both gophers and ground squirrels are rodents, there are some key differences between the two. Gophers are larger than ground squirrels, and they have coats of fur that are brown or black in color. Ground squirrels, on the other hand, usually have light-colored fur. Another difference is that gophers live underground, while ground squirrels often live in trees or other elevated areas. Finally, gophers typically eat plants, while ground squirrels eat both plants and animals.

What are Gophers?

Gophers are small burrowing animals that are native to North and Central America. Gophers have long, fur-covered bodies and short legs, and they are proficient diggers, using their powerful front claws to create complex burrow systems.

Gophers typically eat plants, but they can also eat small insects and other animals. Gophers are shy creatures and they generally avoid contact with humans. However, their burrowing habits can cause problems for people who are trying to grow crops or maintain a lawn.

Gophers can damage roots and underground utility lines, and their burrows can create trip hazards. Gopher control is best achieved through the use of traps or poisons, although some people prefer to simply live with these little creatures.

What are Ground Squirrels?

Ground squirrels are a type of rodent that is closely related to the chipmunk. These animals are typically found in North America, where they inhabit a variety of different habitats including grasslands, forests, and mountains.

  • Ground squirrels range in size from around 10 centimeters to half a meter in length, and they typically have brown or grey fur. Ground squirrels are well-adapted to life on the ground, and they are excellent burrowers.
  • These animals live in underground colonies, and they often build their burrows near sources of food such as nuts or seeds. Ground squirrels are active during the day, and they typically eat a diet of plants and insects.
  • These animals are also known to hoard large quantities of food, which they store in their burrows for winter. Ground squirrels typically live for around two years in the wild, but they can live for up to eight years in captivity.

Difference between Gophers and Ground Squirrels

Gophers and ground squirrels are often confused with one another. However, there are several key differences between these two types of animals.

  • Gophers are small, burrowing rodents that have short legs and wrinkled skin. They are typically brown or black in color, and their tails are scanty.
  • In contrast, ground squirrels are slightly larger than gophers and have long legs that allow them to run quickly.
  • Their fur is generally lighter in color, and their tails are longer and furry. Ground squirrels also have prominent ears, whereas gophers do not.
  • Gophers live alone in complex burrows, but ground squirrels often live in colonies.

Finally, Gophers eat plants underground, while ground squirrels eat both plants and insects above ground. Understanding these key differences can help you to identify the type of animal you are dealing with.


Although they may look similar, gophers and ground squirrels are two very different creatures. Gophers live mostly underground, while ground squirrels can be found both above and below the surface. Gophers are solitary animals, while ground squirrels live in colonies. Ground squirrels also tend to be more active during the day than gophers. If you’re ever out in the wild and see a furry creature scurrying around, now you’ll know whether it’s a gopher or a ground squirrel!

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