Difference Between Gopher and Groundhog (With Table)

The rodent family is large. Contrary to what people believe, the rodent family is not all about kitchen rats and mice. It includes a variety of animals that look completely different from these everyday rodents. The difference in size, habitat, lifestyle, and appearance are some of the major factors that give this family such great diversity.

Gopher vs Groundhog

The main difference between Gophers and Groundhogs is that Gophers belong to the Geomyoidae family, and Groundhogs on the other hand belong to the Marmot group of rodents. Both these families contain entirely different groups of animals, which have completely different lifestyles. Gophers are closely related to pocket mice, whereas Groundhogs find themselves grouped with Woodchucks among other animals.

Gophers and Groundhogs have differences in their appearance as well. Gophers have large incisor teeth that protrude from the mouth. This makes their teeth stick out even when their mouth is closed. Their teeth are yellow and sometimes even brownish in color, which is a big differentiating factor. Gophers also have hairless tails.

Groundhogs do not have incisor front teeth that stick out of their mouths. Instead, Groundhog teeth stay inside the mouth when the mouth is closed. Groundhogs also have thick furry tails, similar to the tails of squirrels. One of the major factors that set Groundhogs apart is their size. Groundhogs can grow up to weigh 13 pounds, which is quite large compared to other rodents.

  Comparison Table Between Gopher and Groundhog

ParameterGopherGroundhog
FamilyGophers belong to the Geomyoidae family of animalsGroundhogs belong to the Marmot group of rodents
Incisors teethGopher have front incisors that protrude from their mouthGroundhogs do not have incisors teeth. Their teeth sit inside the mouth
sizeGophers are comparatively smaller. They grow up to 2 poundsGroundhogs are huge in size compared to Gophers. They can weigh up to 13 pounds
LifestyleGophers dwell in underground burrows that are complex in the constructionGroundhogs can be seen often on the surface and like to spend most of their time in open areas
Native regionsGophers can be found throughout North and Central America.Groundhogs are commonly found in North America. They are native to Alaska and Labrador in Canada

What is Gopher?

Gopher is a North American rodent of the Geomyidea family. They are ground-dwelling animals of the rodent family and are very commonly found in gardens and backyards in suburban areas.

They are small animals, often weighing around 2 pounds, and spend most of their time underground. They dig complex burrows underground and this is the reason why they are notoriously known for creating a mess of gardens and backyards in the suburbs.

Gophers have dark brownish fur, almost the color of the soil. This helps them in camouflaging themselves with the ground. Gophers create a network of tunnels underground. This is a complex system and is constructed carefully not to expose themselves to the surface.

Gophers also have large pockets in their cheeks. They use these cheek pouches to transport food from the surface to their burrows. Gophers hoard food and this behavior is very similar to that of squirrels and other such animals.

Gophers, unlike ground squirrels, do not live in communities. They prefer living alone. The eating habits of gophers are similar to other animals of the species. Their diet consists of many things, such as grassroots, shrubs, and vegetables like carrots, lettuce among other things.

What is Groundhog?

Groundhogs are animals of the Marmot group of rodents. These are land-dwelling creatures native to North America. They are commonly found in the Northern parts of America, specifically in Canada and Alaska. They can also be found in the eastern parts of the United States.

Groundhogs are closely related to ground squirrels and woodchucks, with a lot of similarities in diet and lifestyle.

Groundhogs are lowland animals and their habitats can be found in woodland areas, typically in the settings of low-elevation forests, fields, and pastures. They dwell in small caves, that they construct using low moisture soil.

Groundhogs prefer to live in large groups, where the animals look after each other. They have a heightened sense of social behavior, and this is seen in their kinship towards their young and the relationship that they form with each other.

Groundhogs are very intelligent animals, and this is reflected in their highly social communities. They are highly socializing animals, although the population of their groups varies from community to community.

Groundhogs are the largest animals of the Sciuridae family and they can grow up to weigh almost 13 pounds. Male groundhogs are larger and heavier than female groundhogs. Groundhogs are primarily herbivorous, and their diet often consists of wild grass and other vegetation.

Main Differences Between Gopher and Groundhog

  • Gophers are animals of the Geomyoidae family of rodents. They are small furry ground dwelling creatures, and spend most of their time underground. Groundhogs are members of the Sciuridae family of rodents. They are the largest animals of this family.
  • Gophers are smaller than Groundhogs, often weighing about 2 to 3 pounds. Groundhogs are the largest animals of their family. They can grow up to weigh 13 pounds.
  • Gophers dwell in underground burrows. These burrows have a complex structure and it often is a system of tunnels. Groundhogs dwell in caves dug in the soil. They prefer woodlands and such low laying places.
  • Gophers have large front incisor teeth that stick out of their closed mouths. These teeth are similar to those of other such rodents, like ground squirrels. Groundhogs do not have such large front incisor teeth. Their teeth sit in when their mouths are closed.
  • Gophers often prefer to live alone. They do not form social communities. Groundhogs live in highly social groups.

Conclusion

Gophers and Groundhogs are both rodents and their behavior and lifestyle are very similar to that of other rodents.

Gophers are smaller in size and are rarely found on the surface, as they prefer to spend most of their time underground, in their burrows. Groundhogs on the other hand are highly social animals. They live in communities consisting of many such animals.

Groundhogs live in caves that they dig in the low-lying areas of woodland settings. They prefer to spend most of their time on the surface and only retreat back to their caves during the night or when hiding from prey.

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