​How Big Are Pocket Gophers? (Size, Weight & Growth Patterns)

As the old saying goes, size doesn’t matter whether it’s people or even animals. As many gardeners and groundskeepers will tell you, our furry friends, the pocket gophers are no exception to this.

Despite being able to fit into your hand, gophers have a reputation for property damage and are even listed as a nuisance species in many states as a result. 

Although many people want them gone, gophers have managed to stubbornly survive and even thrive in their environment. While being only slightly larger than a rat might sound like a problem for them, gophers are able to use their small size to their advantage. 

How Big Is A Fully Grown Pocket Gopher?

A fully grown pocket gopher is about 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) long, though some larger specimens can reach up to 14 inches. They stand 1-2 inches tall while their tails make up around 1 or 2 inches. 

There are other species of gopher that can grow much larger such as those in South America. Take the giant pocket gopher which is normally found in Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, for example.

These rodents are much bigger than their North American cousins and can reach sizes of over two feet and weigh over two pounds. That’s twice the size of a normal pocket gopher and more than four times the weight. 

If you think the damage a normal gopher does is bad, imagine what one of these fellas can do!

How Does The Gopher’s Size Help It?

Being so small, it is easy to think that the gopher’s size is more of a hindrance than an asset. While this is true being small leaves them vulnerable to larger predators, a gopher’s small size can also help them.

For example, it makes it easier to hide from larger predators. If they want to get away from animals like dogs or birds of prey, their small size means that these little rodents can slip through tiny spaces or run into the tall grass where they are much harder to reach.

Aside from just finding shelter, their small size allows gophers to create their own shelter by digging holes. Being small means that digging a burrow doesn’t require too much effort since gophers can fit even small openings. In contrast, larger predators will have a hard time following them.

At What Age Are Gophers Fully Grown?

On average, pocket gophers only live about 3 to 5 years in the wild, which means they are pretty short-lived. Because of that, our furry friends reach adulthood much earlier than humans.

A gopher is considered sexually mature after a year or so. By that point, gophers are now adults and can now fend for themselves without their parents. When they reach that age, a pocket gopher typically leaves the family burrow to search for its own territory and its own mates.

Being short-lived means that gophers also grow quickly in size. By the time they reach one year, most gophers already reach their maximum size. 

Are Gopher Males And Females The Same Size?

As in most species, male gophers tend to be larger than females. The size difference of some subspecies such as the Texas pocket gopher can be as much as 4 inches or 10 cm.

Aside from size and length, there can also be a noticeable difference in the weights of male and female gophers. Males tend to weigh a lot more than females, sometimes as much as double that of females.

How Much Do Gophers Weigh?

Being so small, it isn’t that surprising to hear that gophers are also featherweights. The average adult gopher weighs somewhere around 200 grams or half a pound, though heavier individuals do exist. 

Aside from pocket gophers, some of the larger species can weigh as much as 2 pounds. While that still isn’t much, by human standards, it is impressive if you consider how much newborn gophers weigh.

When gophers are born, they only weigh a mere five grams or 0.18 ounces. That means throughout their life, gopher pups can grow almost forty times their birth weight!

With such a growth spurt, you can imagine that gophers have a big diet. These little mammals spend a lot of time eating mainly roots. They consume over 60% of their weight in food every day.

How Big Is A Baby Gopher?

With how small the adult gophers are, it’s hard to imagine them being even smaller, but baby gophers are only a fraction of the adult gopher’s size. When they are born, these little guys measure one or two inches long and way only about 5 grams. To put that into perspective, that is about the size of your thumb. 

While they don’t start off large, these babies grow quickly. At this stage in their life, the gophers are incredibly vulnerable since they are small, blind, and dependent on their mothers to survive. 

However, if they receive proper care, the first year is when gophers experience the most growth in size and weight. By the time they reach adulthood, they are many times larger than when they were born.

How Do Gophers Compare To Their Closest Relatives?

Gophers are often mistaken for many of their close relatives, such as groundhogs, prairie dogs, and other rodents. One reason is their habit of digging up gardens and farmland, which makes them a nuisance species 

The other is their similar appearance. Being closely related, it can be hard to tell these animals apart. One way you can do that is by looking at their size and weight as they can vary considerably.

In terms of size, gophers are considered medium-sized rodents, making them larger than animals such as mice but still smaller than a groundhog. 

A prairie dog
Animal NameAverage SizeAverage Weight
Gopher6 to 12 inches0.5 to 2 pounds
Groundhogs17 to 24 inches8 to 12 pounds.
Prairie Dog12 to inches1 to 3 pounds
Filed Mouse5 to 8 inches0.04 pounds

Author: Quade Ong

Hello there, my name is Quade. I have been a writer for three years but an animal lover for over two decades. I grew up in one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, which has given me the blessing of seeing all sorts of beautiful animals. Now I strive to learn not just about the animals I am from, but those all over the world!

Leave a Comment