Botta's Pocket Gopher

Thomomys bottae

Order: 

Rodentia

Family: 

Geomyidae

Thomomys bottae have 195 subspecies which are distributed over most of the Western United States (2). Their size ranges from 19 - 30 cm long while their fur color is highly variable, tending to match the soil color (1). They use their most notable characteristic, their large incisors, to dig complex tunnel systems (2)(3). They are well equipped for a tunneling lifestyle; with large incisors, long claws, small eyes, and whiskers that assist in movement in the dark (3). Their tunnel systems often have only one entrance that is plugged but consist of multiple connected chambers (2). T. bottae burrows can be spotted by the fan-shaped mound of excavated soil around the entrance (3). These gophers are considered ecosystem engineers, species that alter the environment around them and thus have a large impact on the species richness and diversity (3).

 

(1) Jameson, E. W., Jr., & Peeters, H. J. (2004). Mammals of California (Revised ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

(2) Jones, C. A., & Baxter, C. N. (2004). Thomomys bottae. Mammalian Species, 742, 1-14.

(3) Link, R. (2005). Living with Wildlife: Pocket Gophers (pp. 1-7) (United States of America, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife). WA: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

 

Habitat: 

  • grassland