Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Leslie Hugo
Photo Copyright Leslie Hugo

The northern pocket gopher, Thomomys talpoides, is one of the three species of pocket gopher (along with the Idaho pocket gopher and Botta's pocket gopher) native to Utah, where it is wide-spread and abundant. The overall range of the northern pocket gopher includes much of the western United States and western Canada. Like other gophers, the northern pocket gopher is fossorial, meaning that it lives under the ground.

The northern pocket gopher is an herbivore, eating primarily plant roots and bulbs, although stems and leaves are also consumed. Food is carried in external cheek pouches to storage areas in burrows. The species is active throughout most of the year, and individuals are usually solitary. Mating occurs in the spring, and a litter of four to seven young is born about three weeks later. The northern pocket gopher is most often found in high elevation prairies, meadows, and open forests.


  • 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.