Gophers - Do they Bite?


Gophers, as we discussed in our previous articles, are rodents that can range from 6-10 inches long, depending on the species. They have short tails and long front incisors, which they use to chew and eat plant bulbs and roots. Their fur color can range from brown, yellow or gold, and orange.

They are plant root eaters, so you might see them poke their heads above ground in search of food or as they look out for danger. But you're not likely to see them out of their deep tunnels. They are not household rodents, rather they live underground in vegetative areas with moist and soft sand where they dig tunnels and furrows.

Do gophers bite?


They are not dangerous because they do not attack humans directly unless threatened. Since they spend most of their time underground, their relationship with humans is limited; so yes, they will bite when they feel cornered or scared. They have sharp claws and teeth they use primarily for digging and feeding on plants but they will bite with their teeth when they feel attacked.

You could by mistake step on the dirt mounds they build on your lawn and since the ground underneath the mound is hollow, you can fall into the hole; if there’s a gopher underneath it could feel attacked and bite you in self-defense. Gophers’ bite can break the skin, may swell, and appear reddish or bruised.

How dangerous is a gopher’s bite?

Gophers are mammals so they can carry diseases. They carry rabies which can prove to be fatal if not quickly and properly treated. They also carry other diseases like LCM, hantavirus, leptospirosis, and the plague. These diseases can be contracted from the infected saliva, urine, and droppings of gophers. Rabies, for example, is a life-threatening disease that can be fatal; some common symptoms include headache, sore throat, fever, and restlessness. It attacks the central nervous system, causing the brain to swell which could lead to death.

If you get bitten by a gopher, you’re likely to contract any of the diseases from contact with its infected saliva.

To Learn More about Gopher Diseases click here

What Should I do when bitten by a Gopher?

If you get bitten by a gopher, you should clean the wound with soap, water, and a disinfectant as first aid to prevent infection. It is advised that proper medical care should be given to prevent the likely occurrence of any disease.

Gophers do bite (even though their teeth primarily aren't meant to do that), but they only bite when they feel attacked. Their bite could be dangerous if they are carrying diseases and you contract it through the infected saliva from the bite. Immediate and proper medical care should be given if you get bitten by them to prevent the occurrence of any disease.