What Is the Difference Between a Gopher and a Mole: 6 Differences

Both gophers and moles can pester you quite a lot on your lawn. Therefore, it is important to identify animals and give yourself an answer to the question: “What is the difference between a gopher and a mole?” This text will be helpful for those who have problems with the lawn and want to understand what to do. Thanks to these texts, you will be able to recognize the signs of moles and the signs of gophers in the yard.

What Is the Difference Between Gophers and Moles?

After reading the following information, you will understand the differences between moles and gophers and can identify the pest on your lawn quite easily.

  1. Animal size;
  2. Life expectancy;
  3. The places where these rodents live;
  4. Biological affiliation;
  5. Food preference;
  6. Tunnels.

Animal Size

Moles are smaller than gophers. So a mole can be 4-7 inches while a gopher is 6-8 inches. Gophers are larger, not only in length but also in height and overall size. Ground squirrels can reach up to 2.2 pounds and moles 2.5–4.6 ounces. That is, moles are much smaller than gophers.

Life Expectancy

Gophers and moles live differently. So moles can live 3–6 years, and gophers are much less. Most often, gophers live from 1 to 3 years. However, it has also been recorded that some individuals lived up to 5 years in the wild. Therefore, moles will pester you longer if they settle in your territory.

Where Do These Creatures Live?

two gophers on a log

Moles are found almost all over the earth except for Antarctica. But musts are found only in North and Central America. Most often, you will meet moles on your territory. Though you live in certain parts of America, gophers can also be seen. Thus, it is important to determine how they differ. Moreover, moles and gophers like the same places of residence. It can be forests or plain meadows, but you can also meet moles in sandy areas.

Biological Affiliation

Although many people think that moles and gophers belong to the same species, this is not so. Such an assumption could arise because they both like to dig holes and live underground. Gophers are more like mice or kangaroo rats. However, this is hard to believe because gophers are large and do not look like small rats. But moles are still more related to rodents because their taxonomy intersects.

Food Preference

The mole comes out of the ground

The nutrition of gophers and moles is different. Moles are omnivores, so they can eat both meat and grass. But gophers are herbivores, which greatly reduces what they can eat. Moles most often eat larvae, worms, and insects, but ground squirrels prefer grass and roots. Gophers can eat a wide variety of grass, so your lawn can suffer. However, moles can also damage lawn cover as they want to find grubs or worms so that they can spoil the grass in search of food.

Gopher vs Mole Hole

Since ground squirrels are bigger, they dig larger tunnels — from 6 to 18 inches wide underground. Due to their physiology, moles dig smaller tunnels, averaging 3 to 12 inches. The total area of ​​mole tunnels can be 1-2 acres. Gophers don’t have that big tunnels, averaging between 200 and 2,000 square feet. Therefore, moles can create more inconvenience than ground squirrels because their tunnel area is larger.

FAQ About the Differences Between Gophers and Moles

Gopher comes out of the hole

If you are still wondering, “Do I have gophers or moles?” I will answer some more questions you might have while reading.

How much bigger is a gopher than a mole?

Moles are slightly smaller than gophers, so gophers are 6-8 inches long, and ground squirrels are 4-7. So if you meet a small animal, it is most likely a gopher.

How do you know if you have gophers?

Gophers leave a certain shape when they dig tunnels. This is most likely a gopher if you do not take away a crescent moon or a horseshoe on the grass.

What attracts moles and gophers to a yard?

Moles are most attracted to places where there are a lot of worms after rains if you open the hole that the gopher left because gophers close their holes after they climb in.

Mole vs Gopher

Making such a comparison is rather strange because these are 2 different animals. But now you can tell the 2 animals apart and answer the question, “Are gophers and moles the same thing?”
Which of these animals have you met? Share your experience in the comments.

Also read:


  • Controlling Houseflies (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension)
  • A systematic review of human pathogens carried by the housefly (Musca domestica L.) (National Library of Medicine)
  • Should I throw away food once a fly has landed on it? (The University of Sydney) https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2016/01/04/should-i-throw-away-food-once-a-fly-has-landed-on-it-.html


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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