Thursday, September 14, 2006

Today's Dust :: Pocket Gopher Pocket Hole

You know, I always thought that pocket gophers got their name because they were so petite – like ‘pocket Venuses’ only rodents. Then I found out that they could weigh up to a fatty bom-bah 1kg, so that blew that theory.

Then I saw this photograph of a wild PG hole. That made me think they were so-named because they lived in pockets in the ground. That would make sense. Those hole-pockets are obviously dangerous to approach, hence this action-shot! This explanation seemed to fit the bill, but DID peeve me slightly because I then realised that I would have even more pockets to search for Inky.

Millions and millions more, given that each pocket gopher can dig 300 holes in a year.

But noooooooo! Imagine how humiliated I felt, Director of one of the world’s finest natural history collections as I am, to have not known that they get their name because they have pockets. And I don’t mean pouches to gestate their kittens in. No, I mean real honest-to-dog pockets. Sure they’re fur-lined and the pockets are on their cheeks and run across to their shoulders, so not entirely conventional. But their purpose is solely to store and carry things. Lots and lots of thing because PGs are hoarders. They also have very poor eyesight, long sharp teeth ‘n claws, and a propensity to bite if provoked. I think I’d get along with them very well! I’m almost looking forward to searching each of their pockets for Inky…

More information and videos in various formats of a PG in pocket-hole creating action from DesertUSA >>
Wikipedia on PGs >>

Other little-known facts about PGs..they shift about 4 ton of soil each a year and they are the state emblem of Minnesota.

Valley Pocket Gopher, Marina del Rey, 18th April
More by Dave Appleton


Blogger Jim Stewart said...

Your industrious research staff got curious as to how these "pockets" are actually used, and found the answer here:

The Plains Pocket Gopher feeds primarily on roots, bulbs, and tender green plants, many of which are probably cut off at the roots and pulled into the burrow. Some plants are probably collected near the burrow entrances. Food is transported in the animal's cheek pouches, and much is stored in caches in the burrow system. The cheek pouches are filled very rapidly with the forepaws, using a wiping motion that forces the food into the open end of the mouth. To empty the pouches, the animal brings both forefeet from back to front against its cheeks, thus forcing the food out in a pile in front.

Mr. S.

7:18 am  
Anonymous Viagra Online said...

ajajajajaja look that face, is soo funny, looks like as someone said "say cheese" seriously man I can't believe that animal like this could be so harmful.

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Anonymous xl pharmacy said...

This is a funny animal, specially because of its face, I'm gonna be honest because this animal seems to me or maybe to Rhonaldino because he has the same teeth as well as I have.

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