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