Are you tired of looking at your lawn, seeing holes and mounds? Something is going on underground, but what? For most people, they will say a mole is making tunnels but is it a gopher? Gopher or mole — how can you tell the difference between the two by the holes they leave in the yard? In this article, we will explore the topic of gopher versus mole. We will look at their similarities, differences, and, lastly, how to safely but effectively get rid of them.

Gopher or Mole: Differences

Living underground for a majority of their lives, most humans don’t actually see either mole or gophers. However, you are more likely to see gophers as they will come up for air now and again. First, the most significant difference between the two underground, topsoil destroyers is what they are classified as. Moles are characterized as insectivores, while gophers are a medium breed of rodents. Both are mammals that live underground for the majority of their lives

Physical Appearance – Gophers Look Different Than Moles

Physically, gophers and moles are quite different. While they typically have brown furry bodies that are where the similarities end. Gophers look like larger rats, having long claws they use for digging. Coming in at an average of 12 inches, the gopher has four large teeth (incisors) that are exposed. They also have small eyes and ears, with a hairy tail to help navigate tunnels.

Moles, on the other hand, can be distinguished by their pointed noses and webbed paddle-like paws. Belonging to the shrew family, moles can grow up to 8 inches and don’t have ears. The mole is almost always lighter brown with silver hairs throughout. Their eyes are tiny and aren’t very helpful underground. Although they can feel vibrations. Moles are stronger than gophers and are often the cause of tunnels and mounds you see in the yard.

A Gopher’s Diet Is Different Than a Mole’s Diet 

The diets of gophers and moles are essential to our ecosystem. While they can be destructive, what they eat is good for the soil. Moles live on a diet strictly of bugs and insects. Some of these can include worms, larva, and ants. An interesting fact about moles is that they can eat 70% of their body weight in worms and grubs.  

Gophers, while classified as a rodent, will eat mainly worms and grubs. However, if there isn’t enough food available, they will resort to eating plants.

Gophers and Moles Have a Different Life Cycle

Gophers typically live a lonely life. With an average life span of three years, gophers don’t have very long to breed. During their lifetime, mating is the only time they share their burrows. Moles also have an average lifespan of three years. They will produce four pups at a time that will be ready to venture out on their own after 33 days. 

Gophers and Moles’ Tunnels Are Differerent

Moles and gophers tunnel very differently. Gophers will establish an elaborate network of tunnels connecting off the main that is located just five or so inches underground. You will be able to see where the tunnel ends as there will be a mound appearing on the surface. However, you won’t see a hole in the mound, it just will erupt gently from the earth. Curious if the gopher is finished with that particular tunnel? If you dig up the hill and find fresh fluffy soil plugging the hole, they are still in the tunnel. 

Moles will create cone-shaped mounds. These are often very small, only two inches in diameter. Moles prefer more packed soil and rocky earth. While gophers make their tunnels mostly underground, you will be able to see the pathways from a mole.

How to get rid of gophers or moles?

There are a few directions you can take to get rid of moles or gophers that have invaded your yard. The first is to consider traps. These are often a good and bad idea for the homeowner. If you aren’t careful, these can risk the homeowner getting bitten by a captured pest. It can also be inhumane when dealing with the pest once you have caught it. 

The second option is to apply chemical baits. While these are effective, there is one huge downside. If you use chemical pesticides, dead animals will be left rotting under the ground. The smell can be horrible and hard to pinpoint to take care of. 

The last and possibly best option is to hire a professional gopher controller like Bug Guys Pest Control. Trapping is the best solution with professional assistance. Bug Guys can dispose of the moles or gophers humanely while remaining safe doing so.


Gophers and moles can do thousands of dollars of damage to anyone’s yard. They can also create uneven surfaces that may cause accidents to happen. Getting rid of gophers or moles is difficult as they live underground and are seldom seen. Professional pest control is the fastest and most effective way to get rid of an underground mole or gopher issue.

If you’re having a gopher or mole problem in the Coachella Valley, contact Bug Guys Pest Control today!