Pocket gophers (family Geomyidae
) are burrowing rodents. They have large bodies and heads, enlarged front claws, small eyes and ears, and short tails. They have large incisors and cheek pouches. There is only one species in Florida.
The Southeastern Pocket Gopher
, Geomys pinetis
, is found in areas of sandy soil from central Florida northward. It is light or reddish brown with a tan or buff underside. Its 3-3.5"-long tail is hairless. It reaches a length of 9-12" overall.
Also called the "salamander" and "sandy mounder", it lives underground in a extensive network of tunnels which can be up to 500 feet long. As it digs, it pushes the soil to the surface, creating a row of sand mounds. It eats roots, tubers, especially those of Bahia grass, and bulbs.
It is solitary except during the breeding seasons in February or March and June or July. Litters contain 1-3 young which leave when they are 6 weeks old.
Predators include snakes (pine snakes in particular), weasels, and sometimes owls, hawks, cats, dogs, skunks, and foxes.
Geomys pinetis austrinus
is found from Levy County to Arcadia.
Geomys pinetis floridanus
is found from the Appalachicola River eastward to the Atlantic coast and south to Orlando and Merritt Island.
Geomys pinetis goffi
is found around Eau Gallie.
Geomys pinetis mobilensis
is found west of the Appalachicola River.
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