Not only do gophers leave unsightly holes in your lawn or garden, but they also can destroy vegetation and steal your garden crops, if left unchecked. If the gophers on your property have outsmarted traps or you want to ensure the gopher dies, consider using a bait of zinc phosphide-laced granola. When the gopher ingests the zinc phosphide a gas forms inside the digestive track, and eventually spreads toxins in the blood stream. Zinc phosphide is toxic to rodents but not to other household pets like strychnine.
Pour the zinc phosphide bait in a large container.
Add a small amount of sweetened granola and raisins or minced carrots to zinc phosphide, to entice the gophers even more to the bait. Use the extra ingredients sparingly, as you want the gopher to primarily ingest the zinc phosphide.
Stir the ingredients together with a paint stick to combine them thoroughly.
Spread the granola bait near the entrance and inside the holes, where the gopher is likely to eat it and take back into the tunnel. Avoid placing the bait on wet soil or grass. The zinc phosphide pellets dissolve in moist soil. Repeat the application process over the next several days until you no longer notice new gopher holes.
Clearly mark the gopher granola with a warning label, and the name of the mixture, so there is no doubt of what is actually inside the container.
Store the granola mixture in a sealed container, up high where children cannot access it.
Soak pieces of cloth in ammonia and stuff them into the gopher holes. They will not like the vapors invading their tunnels.
Place several drops of peppermint essential oil on cotton balls and place them in and around the gopher holes. Peppermint is a repulsive scent to many animals, including gophers, moles and mice.
Make a solution of 1 qt. of water, 4 tbsp. of cayenne pepper and 1 tbsp. of peppermint oil in a spray bottle and regularly spray the openings of the holes to keep them damp until the gophers are gone.
Give the gophers the idea that possible predators are around. Stuff dog hair into the holes. If you don't have a dog from which to collect hair clippings, check with your local animal groomer. Sprinkle a bit of used kitty litter into the holes, if you or your neighbor has a cat. You might even consider getting your own outdoor cat to scare and keep gophers away.
Mating and Birth
Gophers usually mate between January and April and a litter of two to six young is born about 19 days later.
Gophers reach sexual maturity at 3 months and males will often leave their burrows to seek out mates when they are 2 months old.
Gophers' teeth grow continuously and they have to gnaw constantly to keep them in check. Gophers are vegetarians eating plant roots, grass and green plant material. They often pull plants down into their burrows from below.
Preferring a life of solitude, gophers typically do not leave their burrows except for mating, to find a new location to dig or to find another food supply. They are active both day and night.
Gophers do not hibernate and remain active underground even in cold winter months. They build compartments in their tunnels to store food.
Remove the freshly dug soil from the gopher mound with a garden spade. Stab the soil with the spade until locating the entrance to the gopher's tunnel.
Untwist the hook end of the wire hanger with pliers, and then straighten it out. Wrap one end around the upper portion of the wood stake and twist the end back around to itself. Attach the free end of the wire to the rear end of the trap and twist it back onto itself so that the trap and stake are hooked together about 18 inches apart.
Set the trap according to the instructions for the type of trap being used. Find these instructions on the manufacturer's website or on the trap packaging.
Slide the trap into the gopher's tunnel at least six inches. Leave the hole open to the sunlight. Pound the wooden stake into the dirt at least four inches with a hammer.
Check the trap every 24 hours.
Place an exhaust hose over the exhaust pipe of your lawn mower. Test the hose to ensure it fits tightly over the pipe. Also, make sure you use an exhaust hose since this type of hose can withstand the high heat emitted by exhaust pipes.
Place the end of the hose into one of the pocket gopher tunnel openings.
Turn on the lawn mower and allow the carbon monoxide to flow through the tunnel network for 20 minutes. Then turn off the lawn mower.
Cover all openings to the tunnel network with dirt and a shovel.
Inspect your property for any new pocket gopher holes. More holes may appear if some gophers survived the carbon monoxide. Repeat the process until all pocket gopher activity stops.