Plains Pocket Gopher

Plains Pocket Gopher

Plains Pocket Gopher

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Plains Pocket Gopher, Geomys bursarius

Geomys bursarius, also known as the Plains Pocket Gopher, is one of thirty-five species in the mammalian family, Geomyidae.<sup>1</sup> This family is in the largest order of mammals, known as Rodentia. They are commonly called “pocket gophers” in reference to their externally located, fur-lined cheek pouches. Pocket gophers are the most highly fossorial rodents found in North American.<sup>2</sup>

Biogeography and Paleontology

Plains pocket gophers are found throughout the Great Plains of North America ranging from southern Manitoba (Canada), and eastern North Dakota south to New Mexico and Texas in the United States, and as far east as the extreme western parts of Indiana.

Fossil remains have been found as far south as Tennessee, indicating a late Pleistocene, early Holocene population.<sup>3</sup> This would support the hypothesis that drier environmental conditions with extensive prairies extended further south during the Late Wisconsinan glacial period, supporting populations of Geomys and other prairie species such as Thirteen-lined ground squirrels and Prairie Chickens.<sup>4</sup>


G. bursarius has short fur with brown to black coloration to it’s upper pelage, while the ventor surface tends to be a lighter brown or tan in coloration. Whitish hairs cover the tops of the feet while the short, tapered tail is nearly naked. Fossorial adaptations...
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