Difference Between Gopher and Groundhog (With Table)

Gopher and Groundhog are burrowing rodents belonging to two different families Geomyidae and Sciuridae. However, they fit into the same class as Mammalia. Both Gopher and Groundhog are small burrowing mammals that are extremely similar in physical appearance, yet they are exceptionally different from each other in various aspects.

Gopher vs Groundhog

The difference between Gopher and Groundhog is that Gopher has sharp horizontal teeth that are exposed even after closing the mouth, whereas Groundhog has sharp leveled teeth that are not exposed after closing mouth and can be only visible when the mouth is open. Gopher and Groundhog belong to two different families Geomyidae and Sciuridae.

Gopher is also known as ‘pocket Gopher’ because of its round soft fur-lined pouches used for carrying food and other required items to burrows. Gopher has sharp horizontal teeth and claws to chew food effortlessly. Moreover, they are mostly herbivorous animals.

Groundhog is also recognized as ‘woodchuck’ or ‘whistle-pigs’ because whenever Groundhog finds something dangerous, they often inform other members of the colony with high-pitched sound as a warning. Groundhog has sharp, uniform teeth to chew food, and that is only exposed when the mouth is open.

Comparison Table Between Gopher and Groundhog

Parameters of Comparison Gopher Groundhog
Physical AppearanceGopher has a mixture of greyish and brownish fur with small round eyes and ears. Groundhog has dark brown and black-colored fur with small round eyes and ears.
BehaviorGopher has devasting behavior and destroys gardens.Groundhogs do not have devasting behavior and are seen on trees and grounds.
HabitatGopher is found in the grasslands of western and south-eastern parts of the United States. Groundhogs are found mainly on the trees and grounds of the different parts of North America.
DietGophers eat the leaves and roots of plants. Moreover, they are mainly herbivorous animals.Groundhogs eat fruits and leaves of plants. Moreover, they are mostly herbivorous animals.
ReproductionSexual Reproduction occurs.Sexual Reproduction occurs.
LifetimeThe existence ranges from 1 to 5 years.The existence ranges from 7 to 12 years.

What is Gopher?

Gopher is a burrowing rodent with greyish and brownish-colored fur with small round eyes, ears, flathead, and a flexible body specially made for entering narrow holes. They fit in the Geomyidae family. They are mostly found in moist soils and grasslands of western and south-eastern parts of the United States and Florida.

Gopher is well known as ‘Pocket Gopher’ due to its potential to store and transport food and other required materials to and from burrows in pockets or pouches located around both cheeks. Gophers eat the leaves and roots of plants. Moreover, they are mostly herbivorous animals. They often cause destruction and trouble for farmers and are well-known for their devasting burrowing activities and their capacity to destroy gardens.

In Gopher, sexual reproduction takes place as they fit in class Mammalia. Gophers breed during the spring season once a year. During the spring season, male Gophers mate with female Gophers, and the gestation period of female Gophers usually varies from 17 to 29 days. Moreover, the female Gopher can give birth to 4 to 5 babies.

Gophers are independent animals that live alone in the burrows apart from the mating season. The lifetime of Gophers varies from 1 to 5 years.

What is Groundhog?

Groundhog is a small burrowing animal with dark brown and black-colored fur with small round eyes and ears. Moreover, they are extremely similar to squirrels and fit in the Sciuridae family. They are mostly found on the trees and grounds areas of the different parts of eastern North America.

Groundhog is recognized as ‘woodchuck’ or ‘whistle-pigs’ due to its ability to detect dangers and notify the other members of the colony by making a high-pitched whistle sound. Groundhogs are excellent swimmers and consume fruits and leaves of plants as food. Moreover, they are mostly herbivorous animals.

Groundhog Day is celebrated in different parts of the United States, Canada, and Germany, mostly among the Christian community in February. It is known that when Groundhog comes out of the burrow and if the shadow of Groundhog is visible, then it indicates that 5 more weeks of winter is left. Groundhog Day is the ancient technique for weather forecasting.

In Groundhog, sexual reproduction occurs as they fit in class Mammalia. During February or march, Male Groundhog goes on the hunt for a female Groundhog for mating. The Lifetime of a Groundhog may vary from 7 to 12 years.

Main Differences Between Gopher and Groundhog

  1. Gopher has greyish and brownish-colored fur with small round eyes, ears, flathead, and a flexible body, whereas Groundhog has dark brown and black-colored fur with small round eyes and ears.
  2. Gopher is recognized as ‘Pocket Gopher’, whereas Groundhog is recognized as ‘woodchuck’ or ‘whistle-pigs.’
  3. Gopher is not similar to squirrels and fits in the Geomyidae family, whereas Groundhog is extremely similar to squirrels and fit in the Sciuridae family.
  4. Gopher is mainly found in the grasslands of western and south-eastern parts of the United States, whereas Groundhog is found on the trees and grounds areas in different parts of eastern North America.
  5. Gophers eat leaves and roots of plants, whereas Groundhogs eat fruits and leaves of plants.
  6. The Lifetime of Gophers may vary from 1 to 5 years, whereas the Lifetime of Groundhog may vary from 7 to 12 years.

Conclusion

Gopher and Groundhog are burrowing small animals that fit into two different families, Geomyidae and Sciuridae of class Mammalia. Gopher has almost 30 to 34 different species living in the moist soils and grasslands of western and south-eastern parts of the United States and Florida. Groundhogs are mostly found on the trees and grounds areas of the different parts of eastern North America and Canada.

Gopher and Groundhog have a great resemblance with each other in physical appearance and characteristics, yet they are different from each other in many aspects too. Both Gopher and Groundhog are needed to be protected from predators to increase their population.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-70257-5_8
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0038038507080446
  3. https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article-abstract/66/4/720/848088

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