Monday, February 07, 2011

Gopher A Little Closer

Nobody gets in to see the wizard, not nobody, not no how.

Even though I refer to him as "she" during the little video, this projection is a male "thang".

That "she" stuff is just habit when referring to the gophers on my property. Maybe it's because they cruise around here like little land ships and every ship is a she ... yes, I know that's stretching it a bit.

Another sign that "she" is really a "he" is this concave plastron.

Earth moving equipment.

This is a front end loader, the back legs are rounded and make you think of elephant feet.

So, what's the story behind these gopher shots?

I think, and I base this on unscientific casual counting of active burrows on my property, that I have about 8-10 adult gophers in the PFHQ gopherarium.

Young gopherlings show up every year, but they are even harder to spot on a casual walk, so there's no telling how many of them use PFHQ. Often it is Bear that finds them and brings them to me, unharmed, in his gentle Lab mouth.

Generally, I don't see them when Bear and I walk through this area. In the winter, they stay in their burrows for long periods of time. In the summer they are more active, but an encounter is still fairly uncommon.

On this particular warm day after a long cold spell, Bear and I came along just as this gopher was grazng about ten feet from his burrow entrance.

The gopher tucked in as Bear scooted him over the grass, pushing with his nose and trying to get a grip on the rounded shell.

I scooped up the gopher to get it away from Knucklehead and then snatched a few closeups of his parts while I was holding him.

I placed him on his "apron" and then dragged Bear back to the house.

When I returned, the gopher was still there, still mostly tucked in, and still not sure if the giant Slobberosaurus had gone.

It took him a while to make the decision to ... (forgive me) GOPHER it, but eventually he did.

I don't know how well they see. My guess is probably not very well. I was about ten feet away and he stared at me for some time before deciding it was safe to slip down his runway to safety

Ahhh, home sweet home.

Today, it is raining like crazy ... an all day rain ... and the temperature is dropping so I think I won't be seeing any gophers for a while.


Carol said...

I keep kicking myself in the butt for not following the big one that was on our road. We have so much muck land around us that I doubt he was close by. How nice to have so many in your area.

elpbulls said...

We did a gopher population estimation lab in ecology I could do our yard sometime when I'm home and we could figure it out for real! Love you!

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Gopher it. Ha, ha....that caused several laugh out loud snorts!!

It's been raining here since Saturday. I have waterfront property!


Julie Zickefoose said...

What a cool video. You feed them, cut annoying roots, and share them with everyone. Liam loved seeing him scoot down the chute to his burrow--until he hit the root!

I would totally be feeding those things. Pineapple, mango, cantaloupe...oh yeah.

Caroline said...

Turtley charming fellow!

LibraryGirl62 said...

concave plastron is a great name for a punk band...

SophieMae said...

Am I hearing an irate squirrel in the background?

I saw the sun for about 5 minutes yesterday, just to remind me that it does, indeed, still exist. If it ever does clear up for a whole day, or even half, we need to catch up on some overgrowth battlefare ourownselves.

For today, I think I'm gonna take this wv to heart - baila! 8-]

Dani said...

I love them! Breaks my heart when new condos and such go in and they end up killing the sweet babies.

Thunder Dave said...

I haven't seen any sings of them on our piece of land yet, but then I haven't fully explored the second half yet. Maybe I'll get to do some of that this next trip down there!

By the way my verification word was: "furest"!
Is that a forest that's a fur piece away from you?

Valerie said...

Great video, you are so lucky to have several on your land! My teenager and I were talking last week about gophers - we were wondering if they were hit hard by the cold winter last year like manatees and fish? Or are they a little hardier? I used to have a gopher behind me in a pasture and I fed her too. The dogs would bark and alert me she was out so I could get food for her.

Miz S said...

I like the Wizard of Oz reference.

The temperature dropped here, too. It's 31 degrees with a ferocious wind. I just came in from walking the dogs and my entire face feels frozen. Brrrr.

Dan said...

Do you suppose there is some way to shove a video camera and light down the burrow?

lisa said...

I loved the video, I couldn't believe how fast he moved!

Floridacracker said...

That was one HUGE tortoise!

Great! This summer!

Never pass up an opunrtunity!!!

You Chelonian Cuddler you.


For an all male band of course.

Is there any other kind?


You are probably too shady with that thick forest.

I think they probably weathered it pretty well deep in those burrows. I seem to see about the same number here after that FRIGID winter!

Miz S,
Frost on the windshield this AM!

You could do it, but there are turns that would be a bugger to navigate.

For a tortoise, he does pretty well!