Gophers causing big time headaches: 'They're great at digging'

CANYON COUNTY, Idaho (KBOI) -- They lurk in dark tunnels in neighborhoods throughout the Treasure Valley.

Gophers.

"They get in the lawn, the garden, and under roadways and dig tunnels like beavers do," said Canyon County resident Ken Edwards.

Some homeowners have tried trapping gophers on their own.

"I snapped my fingers a few times, finally figured it out to get the gopher man out," said Edwards.

So we followed a gopher man on his appointed rounds.

In this case, Mike Ogden, with Dengo Wildlife Control and wouldn't you know it? When he checked his first trap, he found...a pocket gopher.

"It's alive and kicking," Ogden said. "This is what you'll find underground causing all the damage. Look at the teeth on that."
And their paws are perfect for burrowing.

"They're great at digging."

Food is what they're after, specifically, tasty roots, and your lawn is a banquet for them.

"Roots from grasses. Ornamental flowers, bushes, young sapling trees," said Ogden. "It's all very attractive to gophers. They will make a bee-line for these landscaped areas. Gophers leave a closed-hole tunnel system. They abhor light and wind."

Those tunnels can cause big time problems.

Authorities blame gophers for creating a sinkhole on a highway near Melba last year into which a woman crashed her car and was killed.

There are many ways to exterminate gophers, including smoke and concussion devices.

Mike Ogden uses usually lethal traps which he designed himself.

Ogden said he's not trying to eradicate the species. He's trying to divert them from eating gardens and lawns.

"We're not trying to eliminate gophers," Ogden said, "and I don't know that we could even if we wanted to. In other areas where they are not in conflict with people, we just leave them alone and they can do what they're doing."