What is the difference between gopher and groundhog?
Gophers and groundhogs are both rodents. The two belong to different families. Gophers are not in the squirrel family. They belong to the Geomyidae family. The family includes the beavers. There are about 35 species of gophers found in Central and North America.
Groundhogs belong to the squirrel family. It is one of the species of marmot found in North America. They live in lower elevations, meadows, and grasslands.
The main difference between gophers and groundhogs is the size. Gophers are smaller than groundhogs.
Comparison Table (Gopher vs Groundhog)
|Classification||They belong to the Geomyidae family.||They belong to the Sciuridae family.|
|Size||They are comparatively smaller in body size.||They are larger in body size.|
|Geographical location||They are found in Central and North America.||They are found in North America.|
|Teeth||They protrude in the mouth and are usually yellow or brown in color.||They are white in color and not visible unless they open their mouth.|
|Tails||They have hairless tails.||They have short, thick, and bushy tails.|
|Feet||They are pink in color.||They have brown or black feet.|
|What they feed on||They prefer roots and tubers.||They prefer vegetation and fruits.|
|Activity||They remain active even during the winter season.||They hibernate during the winter season.|
|Cheek-pockets||They have cheek pockets where they store their food.||They do not have cheek pockets.|
What is Gopher?
Gophers are rodents but they belong to the family Geomyidae. The family includes beavers. There are 35 species of gopher all found in Central and Northern America.
They are smaller in body size. They weigh about 2 to 3 pounds. They rarely come out of their burrows. They spend a lot of time in their burrows as they feed on roots and tubers.
They have fur-lined cheek pockets where they can store their food for later use. They have hairless tails; their teeth protrude in their mouth and are usually yellow or brown in color.
They remain active throughout the year even during the winter season. Storing food in their cheek pockets does not necessarily mean that there is a time they are not active.
They breed only once or twice a year. They breed during the spring season. They give birth to 3 or 4 young ones. Their gestation period takes less than three weeks.
What is Groundhog?
Groundhog is rodents that belong to the Sciuridae family. They live in burrows. They are found in North America.
The family has many species. Groundhog belongs to species marmots where there are 15 species. They are characterized by thick, powerful bodies, flatheads, and strong claws.
They grow up to 13 pounds and this makes them appear bigger than the gophers. They mostly feed on vegetation and fruits and this makes them be seen often during the day as they look for food.
They leave their burrows often in order to look for food outside their burrows. This makes them be active during the day.
During the winter season, they hibernate. They mate during the early spring season. That is when they emerge from hibernation. The female gives birth to 2 to 4 offspring. The female takes care of the young ones for 2 months before leaving them to be independent.
Main Differences between Gopher and Groundhog
- Gophers belong to the Geomyidae family while groundhogs belong to the Sciuridae family.
- Gophers have cheek pockets where they store their food while groundhogs do not have cheek pockets.
- Gophers’ teeth protrude in their mouth and are usually yellow or brown in color while ground hogs’ teeth are white in color and are not visible unless they open their mouth.
- Gophers are comparatively smaller while groundhogs are large in body size.
- Gophers have hairless tails while groundhogs have short, thick, and bushy tails.
- Gophers feed on roots and tubers while groundhogs feed on vegetation and fruits.
Similarities between Gopher and Groundhog
- They are both rodents.
- Both leave in burrows.
- Both feed on vegetation.
- Both give birth to live young ones.
Gophers and groundhogs are rodents but they belong to different families. This is due to their behavior. Gophers are mostly found in their burrows while groundhogs are out during the day to look for food.
Gophers have cheek pockets where they store their food while groundhogs do not have. They do not store food. They consume what they have found.
The main feature that makes gophers different from groundhogs is their size. Gophers are comparatively smaller as compared to the groundhogs.
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