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Botta's Pocket Gopher Thomomys bottae


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Botta's Pocket Gopher in tunnel
credit: NPS

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Family: Geomyidae, Pocket Gophers view all from this family

Description One of the world’s most variable small mammals, usually has a unique purple tinge to the flanks. Ranges from dark blackish brown through various shades of reddish and yellowish browns, pale grays, and yellows, to nearly white. Ventral coloration usually mirrors that of back. Patches of white on throat, chest, or abdomen are not uncommon. Body color is tied to soil color. Dark patches behind ear are most evident in lightly colored individuals.

Dimensions 170-280mm, 62-92mm, 110-250g; / 150-240mm, 55-73mm, 80-160g

Similar Species Typically larger than the Southern Pocket Gopher and smaller than Townsend’s Pocket Gopher.

Habitat Meadows & fields, Deserts, Grasslands & prairies, Scrub, shrub & brushlands

Range Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas, California, Northwest

Discussion Lives in virtually any friable soil, from rich valleys to rocky montane slopes and desert outwash areas. Wide range of habitat types from desert up to coniferous forests, but mainly in open areas where soils are deep enough for burrows (meadows, stream sides, etc.).