Gophers are rodents that burrow into the ground. They build networks of tunnels connecting to each other and like areas such as farmland and lawns because of the moist soil. Similar to squirrels, gophers collect food and store it in pouches in their cheeks. Their diet consists of roots, shrubs, and vegetables, specifically ones that have a lot of juice such as carrots and radishes. Because they can fit a lot of food in their cheeks at once, they don’t need to appear above ground very often, spending most of their time under the soil. Understandably, gophers are considered a pest that can do a great amount of damage to your yard and garden.

The Basics

Gophers can be somewhat hard to kill, as you won’t find them above ground very often. They’ll come out to gather some basic vegetation like berries and vegetables, but much of their eating is done inside their tunnels. The roots of trees and plants get destroyed from these rodents and their constant chewing, making them a horrible nuisance that need to be eliminated. But how can you do it?

Do I need a license?

In general, gophers are considered pests and so you won’t need permission to kill them. However, there are some restrictions. When using snapping traps, you may have to have a permit to set them out. This is the local law enforcement’s way of protecting people and pets from getting hurt in the traps on accident. Some types of gophers are endangered, which would mean you’d have to go to greater lengths to trap instead of kill, and there also areas where you aren’t allowed to release a trapped gopher on anyone else’s land but your own.

Most gophers are legally classified as pests.

Make sure to find out whether or not you’ll need a permit to catch or kill a gopher, or if there are any special restrictions.

Using gas as a weapon

A good way to kill gophers is to use poisonous gas. The air circulating throughout the tunnels systems will spread the gas throughout the burrows and make sure the gophers investing your property are killed.

Some types of gas you can find are:

  • AMDRO Gopher Gasser: This product comes in small rods that you push through into a gopher hole where poisonous gas shoots out from the end. Traveling through the tunnels, it will eventually find every gopher and kill them quickly.
    AMDRO Gopher Gasser
  • The Giant Destroyer: The Giant DestroyerThese sticks blow a huge amount of poisonous smoke out their ends and into the gopher tunnel system. The smoke is thick and not only kills the rodent but disorients it so it can’t run out of the tunnel and get away.

Gophers aren’t social animals and usually live alone, although they may share territory with a few other others. For more gopher facts, go here.


Instead of chasing gophers, sometimes you want them to come to you. Baiting gophers can be a good way to get your hands on them and into places where a deadly trap is waiting. Traps come in different forms but all serve the same purpose: kill the gophers that are destroying your yard.

  1. Wire traps: Gopher's trapThese types of gopher traps look like a puzzle, in a way, and have a hinge attached to them with a pressure plate. Once the gopher touches it, the trap will snap together with a huge amount of force, snapping its neck or spine, resulting in instant death. To use, you must place the trap underground. Find the gopher’s tunnel and place the trap deep inside where you know it will travel through.
  2. Black hole: This device is formed like a cylinder and so imitates the shape of a gopher tunnel. Once it goes inside, there is a noose-like object that will snap the gopher’s neck. To use, stuff down inside a gopher tunnel and wait for the animal to make its way through.
  3. Box traps: These traps are basically a box with a spring-loaded bar attached to them. Place them inside a gopher tunnel and once it goes through, the bar will squeeze the animal to death, bringing it inside the box where you can then get rid of it.
When you’re using traps, placing bait near them can help attract the gopher. Start watering your yard a little less than normal to dry out the plants a bit, then put something delicious and juicy in a trap for the gopher to go after. The moist food will be appealing to them as the rest of the yard is dry and they’ll be more likely to take it. Try using alfalfa, a well-known treat for gophers.

Poisoning and How it Works

Poison is an effective way to get rid of gophers. They come in different methods and are all good solutions to the problem.

  • Grains: One product shown to kill gophers are poisonous grains. The animal will see it as food to eat, unaware that it is indeed deadly. Typical chemicals used in the products include Diphacinone, Zinc Phosphide, and Strychnine.
  • Liquid: A poison that comes in liquid form can be mixed with other bait to leave inside the gopher tunnel. Ingredients are similar to those used in poisonous grains.

Getting your hands on gophers might be hard without the right equipment. Many traps are on the market now that help you to get at the rodents quickly and easily. Learn more about gopher traps by clicking here.


Just like grains, pellets are designed to act as food that the gopher will want to eat. They’re shaped like tiny balls that have poison mixed in that are deadly. Simply place a scoop or two inside the gopher’s tunnel and wait for them to eat.

Some products include:

  • Motomco gopher killer.
  • Contrac pellets.
  • Kaput-D Gopher Bait.

Pellets gopher products

Is there a machine that can deliver the poison?

It might seem crazy, but there are in fact machines that will get rid of gophers for you. Using a simple hose, you stick the end of it into the gopher hole where it will blow a stream of carbon monoxide into the tunnels. Without oxygen, the gophers will die. This is a painless way to get rid of them, as they will slowly lose consciousness.

Gopher poison machine

Gopher tunnels can destroy entire fields.

Another way is to use your car, attaching a hose to the exhaust pipe and letting it run. The carbon monoxide will then fill the gopher chambers. The amount of time until death will vary depending on the extent of the tunnel systems the animal has created.

Get Rid of the Gophers Infesting Your Yard

There’s no way to tell exactly how extensive the tunnel systems are that gophers have created. Once you see plants and trees dying, you can get a general idea of where they’ve burrowed, but you probably want to prevent that from happening.

There are preventative measures you can take to ensure the animals stay away from your plants’ root system:

  • Castor oil granules: Castor oil is a natural repellent to gophers. Sprinkle castor oil granules all around your garden and yard, then either water the area or let the rain do the job. The dissolved granules will then make the oil soak into the ground, invading the plants’ root systems and making them undesirable for the animals to eat.
  • Peppermint oil: The strong smell and taste of peppermint deters gophers and keeps them from eating the plants soaked with it. Simply take some peppermint oil and mix with a little bit of water, then spray all around the plants and trees in your yard. For added absorption, soak the area with water to get the oil into the ground and plants’ root systems.
  • Ultrasonic spikes: There are products that emit a certain frequency of ultrasonic pulses from them, creating a sensation uncomfortable enough for the gopher to want to escape from.

Once you get rid of your gophers, what do you do next? When it comes to controlling what goes on in your yard, there are steps you can take. More information about gopher control can be found here.

The quick way

Methods of getting rid of gophers can vary, time-wise. Sometimes you can kill rather quickly, and sometimes it takes much longer. What if you just can’t wait? What options are there to kill gophers in a fast, effective manner?

A gopher incinerator is a machine that ignites gas throughout the tunnel systems. You’ll insert a hose into the gopher hole and pump in a precise balance of oxygen and propane. Once enough time has passed, you’ll stand back and press an ignition, setting the gas on fire, incinerating anything inside the tunnels. This may sound like a horrible way for the animals to die, but they are actually killed instantly, making it a quick and painless death. An added benefit is that the tunnels will collapse with the blast, letting you then fill in the areas with dirt to make everything level and even again.

Hire an exterminator

If you don’t want to kill the gophers yourself, there are people you can call to do the job. Exterminators use a variety of methods such as capture, poison, traps, and baiting. Look through your local phone directory and choose a trusted vendor, and remember that price will vary depending on the company, severity of your problem, and technique used.

Flooding a gopher tunnel can sometimes work to get rid of the pests. Stick a hose into the tunnel entrance and turn on the water. It will probably take around thirty minutes for the tunnel systems to become flooded enough to affect the gophers in them. Watch the other gopher holes for the animals (as they will try and escape the water) and be ready so that you can capture or kill them.

What are the Best Ways to Kill a Gopher?

The best ways to kill a gopher are probably ones that involve speed. Once you’ve got those animals invading your yard, you want them gone as soon as possible and not a minute later.

Methods that get rid of gophers fast include:

  • Traps,
  • Poison,
  • Gopher incinerator.

When you’ve got gophers, you might be thinking you’ll never have your yard under control again. Will you lose your plants and trees? With gophers, it’s possible. The good news is that there are sure-fire ways to eliminate these animals for good, leaving your home and yard intact and free of unwanted pests.

You can find further details of Gophers Control here.