Ask the Naturalist

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

October 17, 2014

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:
http://baynature.org/articles/the-gopher-underground/

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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