SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher

SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher title=
SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher
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Source: Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network

This juvenile Botta’s pocket gopher was rescued after a very scary experience. A resident of Isla Vista was walking along Del Playa at sunset when she discovered her dog had picked up a little creature along the way (remember to keep an eye on your dog when near wildlife!). The rescuer quickly reacted, taking the young gopher out of the dog’s mouth. First thing in the morning, she brought it to the Wildlife Care Center. 

Staff quickly examined the Botta’s pocket gopher to check for injuries. Luckily, the gopher had not sustained any serious injuries as a result of being in a dog’s mouth. It still is very young so SBWCN staff is still going to be caring for this gopher for a while. This gopher will receive its final doses of antibacterial medication in the coming days and then will eat plenty of yummy foraged greens until it can hopefully be released back into the wild. 

Botta’s pocket gophers are infamous for making holes in yards, giving them an undeserved bad reputation. These holes actually improve and encourage the growth of plants by aerating the ground and reducing soil compaction. Other fun facts about Botta’s pocket gophers are:

• Soil does not get into Botta’s pocket gophers’ mouths when they use their teeth to dig because their lips are positioned behind their teeth. 
• Botta’s pocket gophers have external fur-lined pouches on their cheeks to store more food. 
• Botta’s pocket gophers’ underground burrow can extend up to 2,000 square feet.

SBWCN cared for twenty-two Botta’s pocket gophers in 2020. Support the care of this Botta’s pocket gopher and eighty-three other patients with a donation. www.sbwcn.org/donate

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Santa Barbara W... Jan 19, 2021 10:01 AM
SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher

Hi there! SBWCN knows gophers can be controversial, especially among the gardening community. However, SBWCN cares for every wild animal in need that is brought to us, and the community can rely on us to do that. Remember, we as humans are constantly living amongst wildlife and we often find ourselves interacting them in our own backyards. In their native range, however, pocket gophers are very beneficial components of ecosystems. These animals move enormous amounts of soil every year - therefore helping to aerate the soil and promote healthy plant growth.

This particular Botta's pocket gopher was not a garden inhabitant as it was found and released back to a park in Isla Vista. We understand they can impact your gardens, so if you would like to know more about how to humanely deter wildlife from your lawns and gardens, visit these links:

https://www.sbwcn.org/animals-eating-my-garden/
https://www.sbwcn.org/animal-digging-up-my-lawn/

RHS Jan 18, 2021 06:15 PM
SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher

This is pretty absurd. Anyone who has a garden knows that these vermin are destructive. I have lost two fig trees to cousins of this dude. (And recently two specimen cacti as well as several agaves and other smaller plants.) I spent three years caring for one, two years on the other. They were planted in wire but it failed. While I respect the sanctity of life I am not going out of my way to save gophers that will unwittingly and persistently waste my efforts.

Basicinfo805 Jan 18, 2021 04:31 PM
SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher

Sounds like the little guy is doing quite well thanks to the WCN. He might enjoy the fresh green salads so much that he'll just have to "accidentally" get picked up by another dog next time he wants a little vacation!

The author also left out one last bullet point:

Botta's pocket gophers will destroy your garden

3P14159 Jan 18, 2021 03:39 PM
SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher

Seems if you had a dog or cat, the gophers would send very little time in your backyard. I have creatures that saunter along the fence line, but mostly to tease my dog - who is very obliging. The worst they do is eat dog poop. Maybe you could find a spray bottle of cat pee and "freshen up" your yard occasionally. to discourage the little guys. Again, I have always had dogs, and creatures may pass through but never stay. I have never had a problem and do have plenty of yummy green goodies. Might work.

a-1611003247 Jan 18, 2021 12:54 PM
SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher

Are these "holes in the ground" the same or similar to the ones made in vegetable gardens where vegetable plants are, uhhhh, were? Since this one is to be fed "yummy foraged greens", I guess that they like yummy vegetable plants and that the bad reputation among gardeners is well-deserved.

MountainDen Jan 18, 2021 07:48 PM
SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Botta’s pocket gopher

Nothing like watching a carefully tended tomato plant slowly disappearing into the ground in real time...
Not to mention corn, squash, lettuce and about anything else that doesn't have a wire skirt/bottom or above ground planting.
Then with above ground planting - there's the "Rats with Hooves" aka deer, which require further precautions & physical barriers.
Let's not mention the wild Turkeys up here. Predators have "taken them out" over past 5 years, thanks to neighbors who moved left/stopped feeding them. ("they're so cuute!!")
Sorry, humor me - been living up here on the Pass for 25 years. And always knew that I was the intruder in the ecosystem. Regardless I would rather get "Yummy Greens" from my garden rather than anywhere in town.

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