Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Caleb Stroh
Photo Copyright Critter Control of SLC

Botta's pocket gopher, Thomomys bottae, is one of three species of pocket gopher (along with the northern pocket gopher and the Idaho pocket gopher) native to Utah. Botta's pocket gopher is common throughout much of Utah, and its range extends throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Although Botta's pocket gopher and the Idaho pocket gopher have overlapping ranges, Botta's pocket gopher is usually found at lower elevations, where it occurs in many types of habitat and in many types of soil.

Similar to other species of gopher, Botta's pocket gopher is an herbivore, eating roots, bulbs, and tubers. Interestingly, individuals of the species may also venture above ground at night to feed on surface vegetation. Food is then carried in external cheek pouches to underground storage areas.

The species is active throughout the year, and individuals are primarily solitary, except during mating. Mating occurs in the spring, and a litter of four to eight young is born approximately three weeks later. Botta's pocket gopher is also known as the valley pocket gopher.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.