Can You Keep Gophers as Pets? You’ll Need This Special License
Often thought of to be a nuisance-pest to properties across America, many individuals feel that these mid-size burrowing creatures have the ability to make great pets.
However, trying to keep a gopher as a pet is a complicated task.
You can only keep a domesticated gopher as a pet if you obtain one through an exotic pet dealer.
However, individuals can obtain a Wildlife Rehabilitator License from their State to rehabilitate a wounded animal back to health and release it into the wild.
Exotic pet dealers can be tough to find. The good news is that just about every state office offers a Wildlife Rehabilitator License.
So, if you’re curious about the license you need or keeping a gopher as a pet – Keep on reading to find out more!
You Need A Wildlife Rehabilitator License
A Wildlife Rehabilitator License is a special permit that allows an individual to take care of a sick or wounded wild animal and nurse it back to health.
This license is designed for individuals looking to help take care of animals that would struggle on their own without proper care.
When an animal is nursed back to health, it is the responsibility of the caregiver to go and release the animal back into the wild.
If you want to use this license to keep a (temporary) gopher, then you’ll have to have a Wildlife Rehabilitator License and the animal will be in need of your assistance before you can take care of it.
Getting the license teaches you how to properly handle a wild animal in specific situations and helps you take the proper actions to benefit both parties, and depending on the state you live in, the qualifications may differ.
So no, you really can’t keep a wild gopher as a pet. However, you can bring one back to health if you have a wildlife rehabilitator license.
And the reality is, if you’re seeing a gopher out and about – you should check out our article because there are certain reasons why gophers are above ground!
Remember, gophers are wild animals first. Keeping a wild gopher as a pet is similar to keeping a wild opossum, and it many animals are much better off in the wild, especially if that’s their natural habit.
Whether Or Not Gophers Would Make A Good Pet
Gophers are known to be wild animals that like to dig tunnels in the ground and live in nature. By nature, they like to dig, and digging is extremely natural to them.
If you’re able to find a licensed dealer that can sell you a domesticated baby gopher, then keeping one as a pet may be of interest.
However, this may be tough to find.
From giving a quick internet search, I wasn’t able to find any pet dealers who specifically raise gophers.
Another thing you’d have to consider is that there will more than likely be a lack of community support of caring for your gopher.
For instance, dogs and cats are both extensively owned animals in the world whereas gophers are not.
Likely, you won’t a lot of online support to help you raise the gopher.
Always Talk To A Vet
So if you have any questions about raising your gopher, they’ll be tougher to find.
However, a quick conversation with your local veterinarian could go a long way into helping the situation.
Thinking about the living space, since gophers are wired to dig underground, then it would be wise to get a very deep tank to mix with water and soil for the gopher to dig tunnels in.
Hypothetically, if you owned a pet gopher, this would be an essential factor in raising it because digging is so instinctual for them.
Gophers dig so much that they have distinct holes that will allow you to locate them on your property – check out our article about the signs of a gopher hole, for more info!
The only way you can obtain a gopher properly is to find a licensed exotic pet dealer who can help you track one down.
Gophers Are Omnivores
If you’ve decided you want to attempt to track down a dealer who can help you obtain a pet gopher, then it may be helpful to know what you need to do to feed a gopher properly.
Or maybe, you’re just interested in what they eat anyways.
Wild gophers are notorious omnivores and often eat any grass, shrubs, roots, bulbs and underground vegetables they can find.
Gophers especially love vegetables such as garlic, carrots, and onions as well, as they often make their way into gardens and pick out those vegetables for their meal.
So, it would be possible to adhere to the diet of a gopher and feed it with some cheap vegetables from the dollar store.
However, it would be more natural for the gopher to fulfill it’s diet out in the wild, snacking on roots and vegetables.
Remember, gophers are naturally wild animals who are genetically wired to obtain food from all of these different sources daily.
We give our dogs and cats specially mixed food designed for their species, but there is no such mix for a gopher (at least from what I can tell).
The only way to mimic the diverse diet of a gopher would be to keep a variety of different vegetables on hand and feed them to him on a daily basis.
That’s A Wrap!
There really isn’t any other way to have and keep a pet gopher.
You may be able to track down a licensed exotic pet dealer where you live, as they can help you find a proper pet gopher.
If you’re just interested in nursing a gopher back to health, then the wildlife rehabilitator license may be a viable option – however, it takes extensive effort to get said license.
For small animals like rabbits, rodents, and ferrets, there is much information across the web regarding what to do in specific situations to solve a problem regarding the animal.
With a gopher, there really isn’t that online support out there to help raise the gopher, which is something to keep in mind.
If obtained properly, you’d always be able to take your pet gopher to the veterinarian’s office for advice.
And, if you happened across this article and are in search of detering gophers from your property – make sure to head on over to our article about using scent to keep gophers away!
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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