Gopher hole in Clairemont
  • Gopher hole in Clairemont
  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

After contacting District 6 councilmember Lori Zapf’s office to determine if the city was aware of a gopher infestation in Clairemont, I was soon contacted by Steve Palle of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Palle assured me that the city is aware of problems with gophers and squirrels in parks and several parts of the city. Residents have blamed the city for allowing the nuisance to migrate from park property onto their lawns. Palle acknowledged that there are now problems with gophers and squirrels in parts of the city where they had been nonexistent.

Overnight, mounds have appeared in large numbers on some properties. Some gophers are so bold as to do their digging during daylight hours. Once commenting to a man on Boxwood Drive that his front lawn looked spared from gophers, he said, “Yes, but I’ve killed 14 of them in the backyard.”

Palle says that while the city is limited in how it treats gopher populations, residents are free to handle gophers in any number of ways. Known do-it-yourself methods reported recently in the Diane Drive neighborhood include drowning, air-horn blasts, tailpipe asphyxiation, and a bleach/ammonia mix (which permanently kills the lawn), none of which have been found effective.

In a recent “Best Buys” article about gopher control, Eve Kelly wrote about getting professional help that unfortunately for many is unaffordable. As a result, one neighbor’s current safe harbor is the next potential bed-and-breakfast for the ever-breeding population just over the fence. Doing nothing will become more and more of a problem.

Palle informed me that gopher and squirrel extermination contracts are being finalized. Contractors will lay non-lethal traps in problem residential areas and city parks. The intention is to relocate trapped critters. San Diego residents feeling overwhelmed by these unwanted guests are encouraged to request the assistance of city Parks and Recreation.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader


wmp July 9, 2012 @ 10:49 a.m.

I noticed a reference to diy methods for gopher removal included an "ammonia/bleach mix". Basic common sense should tell the writer to warn readers that this mixture, known as a "ammonium chloride", not only permanently kills lawns, but is also a lethal gas to humans as well as animals, and should not be used.


mngcornaglia July 19, 2012 @ 7:57 p.m.

So true. Methods used to kill rodents or other pests can also kill humans and pets if not used properly or carefully. Some ideas should be forgotten before attempted. Be smart, not dead...


TheGopherGetter July 8, 2015 @ 10:29 p.m.

The ONLY way to get rid of gophers is by underground trapping. I've been doing trapping since 1966 and considered the leading expert in the field. I've trapped around the US and Internationally, and am a 4th generation Pocket Gopher and Wildlife Specialist.

We handle residential, HOA's, Commercial, Golf Courses, Parks, Schools, Government and Military Installations, and by strictly trapping, WITHOUT ANY BAITS, CHEMICALS, POISONS, NOISE, GAS, FLAMMABLES, PLANTS, WATER, GUM and we guarantee our services!

If the P&R need assistance, we can help. For those living in the vicinity, you also need to be vigilant in your gopher trapping.

FOR THE RECORD: Pocket gophers will NOT eat ANY BAITS, POISONS, GUM or anything else you put in their tunnel system. Pocket Gophers eat ONLY LIVE plants and roots.

Anyone using smoke bombs, flares, flammables, gas, explosive devices, THESE ALSO DO NOT WORK!!! Without X-ray vision, you cannot see where the gopher is tunneling. Pocket Gophers follow underground utilities 24/7, as well as roads, curbs, walls, stem walls and footers. Once they find a waterline, the pocket gopher will quickly find the open space underneath your bathtub or swimming pool. Adding a flammable and explosive gas into this closed tunnel system is insane and I have seen massive structural damages and fires caused by this method.

Noisemakers - DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY! The ground is too dense and the sound will never affect them.

Are you aware that a pocket gopher can push 300 tons of soil to the surface in a year? Are you aware that all pocket gophers are born with tapeworm? Allowing your pets to dig after or eat these rodentia can eventually kill them, and if they come into your home, the tapeworms can infect your home and family as well. Handling or walking through the contaminated soils can contaminate your home and family. These rodentia carry a list of diseases, parasites and microbials, so use caution.

If you are considering buying a home, make sure that this home does NOT have any pocket gophers that have caused any structural problems. One of my previous customers purchased a home through the bankruptcy court that should have been condemned. The damages were so significant that the gophers had destroyed the foundation underneath the road, driveway, home, pool, RV Garage, underground irrigation, even the citrus trees were ruined from the roots being devoured. Home Inspectors do not inspect for pocket gophers, yet pocket gophers can cause more damage to a property than a termite!

If you have any questions, I'm always happy to help. Just look up thegophergetters or The Gopher Getters. Regardless of whom you go through, make sure they are trappers, do not bait, and are 100% green, environmentally safe and offer a guarantee.


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!