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Ask the Naturalist: What’s That Poking Out of the Ground?

by on October 17, 2014

Western pocket gopher pokes its head out of the ground.
This "mystery rodent" recently surfaced in Los Gatos' Vasona Park.

Q: I recently visited Vasona park in Los Gatos and saw this little rodent. Can you tell me what it was, please? Picture attached. — Phil Hasell, UK

A: Hi Phil,
Thanks for sharing this great closeup of what appears to be a western pocket gopher, considered the bane of many a gardener’s existence.

Surprisingly, the gopher‘s constant burrowing provides valuable services to our ecosystem, like providing shelter for our local lizards and reducing flooding. Read all about these misunderstood herbivores here:

Thanks for sharing your find with Bay Nature, and I hope you enjoyed your trip to Vasona Park! — Bay Nature staff

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one comment:

Bill Collins on July 25th, 2017 at 6:52 pm

hi – i saw a western pocket gopher whose den was surrounded by dens of smaller rodents. Do voles live underground? They were small as mice, cute and numerous, scurrying around.

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