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Difference between Gopher and Groundhog

Groundhog and gopher both are brown, fuzzy burrowing rodents. People often these two rodents as they look alike. Let us study these rodents more closely so that we could easily distinguish one from another when we see them digging a hole somewhere.

Gopher:

Gophers are small burrowing rodents that belong to the family Geomyidae under the order Rodentia. There are around 35 species of a gopher that are mostly found in the North and Central America. They generally live in mountains, woodlands, prairies, and coastal areas. A gopher is characterized by a flattened head with long front teeth that are always visible, long claws and a short hairy tail.

Gophers are considered pests in rural and urban areas as they cause significant damage to the fields, gardens, dams etc. They dig a large network of tunnels and subterranean chambers called gopher towns. These gopher towns often cause disruption of agriculture and landscapes.

A gopher measures 5 to 12 inches in length, weighs around 8 ounces and lives upto 2 to 3 years in the wild. The gestation period for gophers ranges from 18 to 24 days, depending on the species and the female gives birth to 3 to 4 baby gophers at a time. They are herbivorous as they exclusively feed on roots and fleshy parts of plants.

Groundhog:

Groundhogs, which are also known as woodchucks, are burrowing rodents that belong to the family Sciuridae under the order Rodentia. They are the largest members of the squirrel family and one of the 14 species of marmots. They are mostly found in northeastern and central parts of North America and prefer to live in fields, forests, and areas close to the open spaces like roads, fields, streams etc. They have grayish to brown fur, small ears, and strong jaws with large incisors.

A groundhog can measure 16 to 30 inches in length including the tail, weighs around 4 to 9 pounds and can live up to 6 years in the wild. It tends to whistle when threatened so it is also known as a whistle pig. It hibernates from October to March and uses body fat as a source of energy during hibernation. The gestation period for a female groundhog is around 32 days and the female gives birth to 2 to 6 young ones.

Based on the above facts and information, some of the key differences between Gopher and Groundhog are as follows:

Gopher Groundhog
Gophers are burrowing rodents that are smaller than groundhogs. Groundhogs are burrowing rodents larger than the gophers.
They belong to the family, Geomyidae. They belong to the family, Sciuridae.
They are mostly found in the North and Central America. They are mostly found in northeastern and central parts of North America.
They generally live in mountains, woodlands, prairies, and coastal areas. They live in fields, forests, and areas close to open spaces like roads, fields, streams etc.
There are around 5 to 12 inches in length. They measure from 16 to 30 inches in length.
Their front teeth are visible when the mouth is closed. Their front teeth are only visible when the mouth is open.
They live upto 2 to 3 years in the wild. They can live up to 6 years in the wild.
The gestation period for gophers ranges from 18 to 24 days. The gestation period for groundhogs ranges from 18 to 32 days.
They do not undergo hibernation. They undergo hibernation, generally from October to March.
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