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Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae)
(aka Botta's Pocket Gopher)
Mammals Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
 
Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae)

Description: Valley Pocket Gophers (Thomomys bottae) are medium sized, gray-brown (buffy) rodents without any particular marks on the fur. The head and body are 5-6 inches long, and the naked tail is about is 2-3 inches long. Similar to kangaroo rats, they have external, fur-lined cheek pouches. Gophers live underground and create "gopher mounds" with the dirt they excavate from their burrows; they usually mound the dirt up over the burrow entrance.

Taxonomy: Order Rodentia, Family Geomyidae.

Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae)

This species lives at almost all elevations in the deserts and mountains around Las Vegas. They occur from the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) Life Zone up to at least 9,000 feet in the Hudsonian (Bristlecone Pine Forest) Life Zone in the Spring Mountains. Look for them anywhere gopher mounds are found -- but don't expect to see one!

Around Las Vegas area, this is the only species of gopher.

Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae) Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae)
Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae) Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae)
Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae)
This gopher came out, grabbed some leaves and grasses, and pulled them underground. Dry grasses might not be too tasty, so perhaps this is bedding material.
Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae)
Gophers create "gopher mounds" using dirt excavated from burrows. They usually close the burrow entrance to prevent snakes and other unwanted visitors from venturing into their underground chambers.
Valley Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae)
This gopher along the boardwalk at Calico Basin had a hole that came up under deep leaves and sticks. We heard it rustling in the leaves while we were bird watching.
more to come ...

 
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 120910

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