33 Examples Of Animals Like Gophers (w/ Pictures)

Gophers or pocket gophers are a type of rodent native to the Americas. These populous rodents are famous for their burrowing, including mounds.

They also love digging in moist soil, meaning that freshly watered lawns and gardens attract many of them. As a result, the gopher, while cute, is seen as a pest by most. 

That aside, gophers are remarkable animals. They spend most of their lives underground tunneling.

Those tunnels lead them to trees and plants where they find roots, bulbs, and nuts – which they stuff into cheek pouches and store in a single section of their tunnel, known as a “larder”.

Those larders can get to be massive, containing many times the gopher’s own weight in food. 

At the same time, they’re also often illegal to keep as pets. And that makes sense considering gophers like to tunnel. They’re also invasive and released gophers can wreak havoc on a new ecosystem. 

Like other rodents, they’re extremely similar to many other animals. 

1. Chinchilla Rats

Scientific Name (family): Abrocomidae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Chinchilla rats look like fluffy gophers, although they burrow instead of tunneling. 

Chinchilla rats look very similar to true chinchillas but with longer tails. However, they are closer to other South American rodents like degus and nutria than to chinchillas. These rodents consist of 9 different species, all of which live in or around Argentina. 

Chinchilla rats are also unique in that they often don’t burrow themselves. Instead, they commonly share burrows with other animals, including true chinchillas. When they can’t, they’ll burrow under rocks or other large outcroppings. 

Chinchilla rats are marked by soft and dense fur, large and round ears, and large bodies. All of them are roughly a foot long including the tail, making them about the same size as the average gopher. 

2. Scaly-tailed Squirrels

Scientific Name (family): Anomaluridae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Scaly-tailed squirrels look remarkably similar to gophers but with larger eyes and softer fur – and normally glide between trees rather than living underground. 

Scaly-tailed squirrels are similar to flying squirrels but are not squirrels. Instead, they look more like flying rats or gophers, with large eyes, small heads, and large and rounded ears. Many also feature striping on the back. 

In addition, scaly-tailed squirrels do not have the bushy tail most people associate with squirrels.

Instead, they have a short (about 80% of the body) tail that’s covered with short but soft fur. This makes them look more like rats or gophers, although some have tufts on the ends of the tail. 

In addition, all scaly-tailed squirrels have flaps between their legs, allowing them to glide when they jump from tree to tree. They also eat a very omnivorous diet, including insects – which gophers don’t normally do. 

They’re also very efficient gliders, with records showing flights of over 800 feet. 

3. Mole Rats

Scientific Name: Heterocephalidae glaber
What’s Similar To Gophers: With similar diet, tunneling, and hoarding habits, mole rats share a lot with gophers. 

Mole rats or sand puppies are a species of rodent native to the tropical grasslands of East Africa.

They are a single species in their genus, although there are blind mole rats and African mole rats that are both very different in genetics and behavior. 

Mole rats famously lack fur. However, they’re also cold-blooded, meaning they almost entirely rely on heat from their tunnels to stay in motion.

In addition, unlike the gopher which is largely solitary, mole rats live in colonies with up to 300 individuals. And, unlike most mammals, they have a queen and workers, which are divided up based on tasks in the colony. 

Like gophers, mole rats almost entirely rely on roots and tubers. However, mole rats are more specialized, focusing on large tubers – where they eat the inside and leave the outside, allowing the tuber to regenerate.

In this way, a single tuber can feed a colony for months or even years. 

4. Hamsters

Scientific Name (subfamily): Cricetinae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Hamsters can look like small, fluffy gophers – although they normally have more coloration and shorter tails. 

Hamsters include over 19 species of tiny rodents, most of which weigh less than a third of a pound. Most are also only a few inches long at most – although the European Hamster can be over a foot in length.

Even that giant example of a hamster always weighs less than one pound. 

These small rodents are beloved as pets. However, in the wild, they share much in common with gophers. For example, they burrow and sometimes even tunnel.

They also store food, primarily root vegetables and grass, in their cheek pouches. Most hamsters can store ridiculous amounts of food in their pouches, sometimes as much as six times their own body weight. 

Most hamsters also hibernate during the cold months – although this can be prevented by simply keeping them warm. 

Like gophers, hamsters are largely solitary. However, hamsters are more solitary and may stress and fight if housed together. 

5. Hutias

Scientific Name (subfamily): Capromyinae (Subfamily)
What’s Similar To Gophers: Hutia look like long-tailed gophers, with a similar size and fur.

Hutias are large rodents native to the Caribbean islands, especially Cuba and Hispaniola. These rodents often look like crosses between gophers and rats, with longer tails and slimmer bodies.

In addition, most don’t burrow at all. Instead, they hide in hollows, holes, and crevices, meaning many of them move in around human dwellings, much like rats. 

They’re also often considered a pest, as they normally eat grasses and vegetables. Because of declining populations, it’s now illegal to hunt most – and the result is that in some areas, they cause significant damage to lawns and gardens. 

However, there’s a significant difference between different types of hutias.

For example, the most common is dark brown or gray and looks a lot like a small beaver (although they can weigh up to 18 pounds).

On the other hand, the Bahamian hutia has a smaller tail, is normally light gray, and is not usually more than 3 pounds. 

6. Beavers

Scientific Name (genus): Castor
What’s Similar To Gophers: These large rodents look similar to gophers but are larger and have a much different tail. 

Beavers include two species of semi-aquatic rodents, famous for their tendency to build dams or lodges. All beavers share basic appearances and traits with gophers.

They’re mostly solitary, they spend a large portion of their time building their homes, and they hoard food. 

Beavers eat a diet of softwood, including bark, roots, and tubers. They’re also one of the only rodents adapted to living mostly in the water.

Lodges are normally built with underwater entrances for this reason, protecting the animals from less water-adapted predators. 

In addition, beavers have very robust and oily coats, which keep water out. They’re also normally about 3-4 feet in length and 24-70 pounds. However, the largest can be bigger. 

7. Guinea Pigs

Scientific Name (genus): Cavia
What’s Similar To Gophers: Guinea pigs often look like small, fluffy gophers – although their tails are different. 

Guinea pigs or cavias are a type of rodent-like or rodent mammals native to South America.

Today, the common version that most people know as pets is actually a domesticated species that are not found in the wild, except in feral populations. In addition, guinea pigs were originally domesticated for meat, much like rabbits in Europe. 

However, wild guinea pigs still exist, like the mountain guinea pig. These species retain the soft and fluffy coat of the guinea pig but are normally less tractable and normally smaller.

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For example, the domestic guinea pig can reach a weight of 2.5 pounds while the mountain guinea pig is normally about half that size. 

Finally, guinea pigs vary a great deal in appearance. Wild guinea pigs are normally uniform with black, white, or brown coloration. But, the domestic version comes in many variations of size and fur length, much like the domestic dog. 

8. Maras

Scientific Name: Dolichotis patagonum
What’s Similar To Gophers: Maras look like a cross between a rabbit and a guinea pig and often live like rabbits.

Maras are very closely related to guinea pigs but look more like jackrabbits with shorter ears. These large rodents often weigh anywhere between 18 and 35 pounds and are usually just under 3 feet in length.

In addition, maras are only found in Argentina, where they’re common in the steppes and lowlands. 

Maras look like rabbits and live in a similar fashion. Most live in social groups and burrow for sleeping. However, they’re active during the day and will feed on a diet of grasses and soft vegetation. 

9. Capybaras

Scientific Name (genus): Hydrochoerus
What’s Similar To Gophers: Capybaras look like very large, long-legged gophers with a long tail. 

Capybaras are the world’s largest living rodents, with some reaching weights of up to 150 pounds. Both surviving species are native to South America, where they live in grasslands and lowlands – often in tropical areas.

The greater capybara is the larger of the two and the more common. 

Capybaras are also famous for being very social animals, sometimes forming groups of up to 100 individuals. They also gather around water sources, meaning they’re commonly seen with other animals. However, they do not seek out that company. 

Capybaras also look similar to gophers in coloration and body type. However, their longer legs mean they aren’t good at burrowing and instead stick to small burrows and hollows.

Rather than digging for roots and nuts, they graze, feeding on grass and other leafy vegetation. 

In addition, if you were to find a young capybara, you might think you were looking at a baby rat, although the toed feet are remarkably different. 

10. Chinchillas

Scientific Name (genus): Chinchilla
What’s Similar To Gophers: Chinchillas are extremely soft and live above the ground but otherwise share many physical features with the gopher. 

Chinchillas are an endangered genus of animal native to the Andes Mountains of South America. Today, they’re popular as pets because of their large faces, big ears, and extremely soft fur.

That fur is unique in that they grow about 60 hairs from each follicle versus humans that have 2-3. 

In addition, chinchillas can be remarkably similar to gophers in build. For example, many have short or medium tails.

Others will have longer tails more like that of a squirrel. Chinchillas also have more loose skin and a ruff around the neck. 

Chinchillas normally live in rocky outcrops or in burrows. However, they don’t usually dig these themselves.

They also live in hers, which can be up to 100 members in size – depending on available food and sleeping room. 

11. Viscachas

Scientific Name (family): Chinchilidae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Viscachas look like a cross between a rabbit, a gopher, and a squirrel – but normally live like rabbits. 

Viscachas are South American lagomorphs (meaning rabbit-like animals) that are very closely related to the chinchilla.

Like the chinchillas, they often have extremely soft fur and curled tails. Unlike the chinchillas, they have large, floppy ears, sometimes almost as long as the head. 

Viscachas also live in colonies or warrens, normally underground, and with up to 100 members in a group. Those groups come out during the day to eat grass, roots, nuts, and most other things they can find. 

In addition, with some members weighing over 15 pounds, viscachas can be quite large. Some, like the plains viscacha, are also gray in color, which gophers aren’t. 

Finally, most viscachas have a long tail with a tuft or ridge of fur along it, which is distinct from gophers, chinchillas, and rabbits. 

12. Voles

Scientific Name (subfamily): Arvicolinae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Voles are tiny rodents famous for their burrowing habits and share most diet and social tendencies with gophers. 

Voles are small rodents with global populations. These small mouse-like animals are normally about 3-9 inches in length and rarely weigh more than a few grams.

In addition, they live remarkably similar lives to gophers, tunneling underground, eating roots and bulbs, and other plants. Voles will also eat carrion or dead animals that they find. 

To add, voles are very much pests. In fact, they are so tiny and burrow so well that they can wipe out significant portions of plants in farms and gardens before the damage is even noticed.

That’s especially true because voles do not eat with care to preserve the plant. Like some other animals, they even ring or remove the bottom strip of bark from young trees, which often kills them. 

Voles also have extremely short lifespans. Most live 3-12 months, with an average lifespan of fewer than 6 months. However, they mature in just one month and gestate for only 3 weeks, and have about a litter of voles per month.

This means that even a tiny population of voles can quickly become massive and can cause significant problems. 

13. Rats and Mice

Scientific Name (order): Rodentia
What’s Similar To Gophers: Rodents look nothing like gophers except for the ears, however, they live very similar lives, albeit, more socially. 

Rats and mice are a very broad order of animals which include small to medium rodents with short fur and long, nearly naked tails. All rats and mice burrow, although they’re equally happy to use existing tunnels, burrows, and hollows instead. 

In addition, in the wild, they frequently burrow for plant roots and tubers, meaning they can be as much of a problem as gophers and voles.

Rats, unlike gophers, normally live in social groups. Those groups will get as large as the food supply and housing arrangements allow. 

Rats and mice are very diverse. The smallest mice are just a few grams in size. The largest rats can weigh over a pound. 

14. Muskrats

Scientific Name: Ondatrata zibethicaus
What’s Similar To Gophers: Muskrats look like gophers but feature a flat, scaled tail which they use to propel themselves through the water. 

Muskrats are so similar to beavers that they were once called “musk beavers”. However, these semi-aquatic animals also closely resemble gophers in everything but living habitats and tails.

All muskrats are native to the northern hemisphere of the Americas, where they live in swamps and wetlands. However, they’ve also been introduced to the full northern hemisphere and can now be found in Siberia, Russia, and Asia. 

Like beavers, muskrats are semi-aquatic. They often build nests with underwater entrances, much like beavers.

However, they mostly eat cattail and other aquatic vegetation. Unlike beavers, muskrats will also eat carrion, breached fish, and insects. 

Muskrats are normally less than half the size of a beaver, with a total length of about 2 feet long – half of which is the tail. They also weigh less than 5 pounds. 

15. Lemmings 

Scientific Name (subfamily): Arvicolinae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Lemmings share most of the appearance of a gopher but have more coloration and longer fur. 

Lemmings are most famous for their “suicide marches”, but that is actually a myth based on a documentary that faked lemmings jumping off a cliff on purpose.

Lemmings are native to the arctic tundra, where they burrow and tunnel, either in the ground or in the snow. They live off of roots, berries, lichens, nuts, and mosses, and will eat grass if nothing else is available. 

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Like gophers, lemmings tunnel and hoard food. Unlike gophers, they live in larger social groups – which can exceed several hundred members.

In addition, lemmings often experience population booms in warmer periods, which causes migrations of lemmings, often by the hundreds. 

Unlike gophers, lemmings don’t keep a larder. However, they do collect soft materials like grass and wool to build nests for semi-permanent living tunnels. 

16. Gundis

Scientific Name (family): Ctenodactylidae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Gundis look like a cross between a chinchilla and a gopher, but are more social and more adapted to the desert. 

Gundis are endemic to parts of Africa, where they live in harsh deserts.

These small rodents look like chinchillas at first glance, but have shorter tails. However, some feature a large fan of hair on the tail, which can look more like a chinchilla.

In addition, gundis are normally brown in color, helping them to blend in with the desert. 

Gundis also don’t drink water. Instead, they get all of the water they need directly from the plants they eat. That diet is remarkably similar to that of the gopher, with roots, bulbs, and any other soft plant matter they can find. 

Unlike gophers, gundis live in large social groups, sometimes of over a hundred animals. They also tend to shelter in rocks and crevices at night, rather than tunneling in the soft sand. 

17. Tuco-tucos

Scientific Name (genus): Ctenomyus
What’s Similar To Gophers: Tuco-tucos are so similar to gophers that they claim exactly the same ecological role as gophers in North America. 

Tuco-tucos are a very numerous rodent species with a lifestyle and adaptation extremely similar to that of the gopher.

In fact, tuco-tucos are so numerous that they are estimated to make up close to half of all underground rodents. And, with 60 separate species of Tuco-tuco native to South America, that’s not hard to believe. 

Like gophers, tuco-tucos live most of their lives underground. All of their biologies are adapted to meet this need, with short claws and forelimbs for digging. Tuco-tucos also use their long teeth. 

Like the gopher, tuco-tucos show little size difference between head and body. However, they feature a long and hairless tail, more like a rat than a gopher. 

18. Pacas

Scientific Name (genus): Cuniculus
What’s Similar To Gophers: Pacas share a distant relationship, diet, and biology with gophers. 

Pacas are one of the most unique animals on earth. They look like chevrotains, or like someone mixed a squirrel with a deer.

However, they’re actually true rodents, most closely related to guinea pigs. These animals all feature spots and stripes, much like a squirrel. 

In addition, they’re native to Central and South America. Here, they can be found in diverse habitats, anywhere there’s food. That food normally consists of fruit, leaves, flowers, and mushrooms.

Pacas also tend to live near water. However, they create deep burrows, usually close to 10 feet deep, and cover the entrances with leaves. 

That makes them significantly different in behavior and lifestyle from gophers. 

19. Agoutis

Scientific Name (family): Dasyproctidae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Agoutis look like gophers with longer legs, similar to capybaras but much smaller. 

Agoutis and acouchis (tailed agoutis) are a family of rodents that resemble squirrels or gophers. These animals normally live in burrows rather than tunneling.

During the day, they forage for food, including nuts, roots, and berries. And, they often bury food for later use – with hoards or stores that will last them through dry seasons. 

All agoutis are native to Central and South America. Most also lack tails, giving them the appearance of tailless squirrels. However, the tailed agouti or acouchi has a medium-sized, gopher-like tail. 

20. Pacarana

Scientific Name: Dinomys branickii
What’s Similar To Gophers: Pacarana look like spotted gophers, with silvery ruffs and large, rounded bodies. 

Pacaranas are the last surviving member of a genus of giant rodents. However, at an average of 30 pounds and two and a half feet in length, they are smaller than the capybara. 

Today, these South American rodents are also rare – although they aren’t threatened. Instead, they reproduce and move slowly, meaning populations stay small. 

Pacaranas closely resemble gophers in appearance. However, they have longer legs and tails.

They also sport stripes and spots, closer to a skunk than to a rodent. However, they are true rodents.

Pacaranas live in burrows with family groups of up to 4-5 members. 

21. Jerboa

Scientific Name (family): Dipodidae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Jerboas are superficially not similar to gophers but are very closely genetically related. 

Jerboas are a family of desert rodents that look like long-eared, tiny kangaroos.

All of them have very long hind legs and very short front legs, and hop around similarly to kangaroos. They’re also fully bipedal or walk on two legs, unlike almost any other rodent. 

Jerboas are also tiny with most not larger than 5 inches. Most weigh under about 3 ounces. However, they can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, which is extremely fast for their size. 

All jerboas are native to the deserts of Asia and the African continent. Here, they’re adapted to move on shifting sand, as jumping allows them to move at speeds many predators cannot while running. 

22. Jumping Mice

Scientific Name (family): Zapodidae
What’s Similar To Gophers: These mouse-like rodents store food in pouches and horde food, however, resemblances often end there. 

Jumping mice or kangaroo mice look like rats and mice but are not closely related. In addition, they have long back legs and use them to jump.

In fact, those jumps can be many times the kangaroo mouse’s size, with bounds of 8-10 feet in length. 

Jumping mice also live in groups, usually forming nests in rocks, hollows, or trees. Like gophers, they live alone. However, they do not tunnel and live almost exclusively above ground. 

Jumping mice are found in North America and in China. However, the actual environment can vary significantly by species. 

23. Porcupine

Scientific Name (infraorder): Hystricognathi
What’s Similar To Gophers: Porcupines closely resemble gophers, although they cover that with long quills. 

Porcupines include two distinctly different groups of porcupines (old world and new). While both are only superficially related, both look similar and share diet and habits with the gopher.

In addition, both share quills, which are hardened hairs that easily dislodge when attacked. And in both porcupines, those quills are tipped with toxins that cause irritation and infection in attackers. 

Like gophers, porcupines primarily eat plant matter and roots. They can also ring trees by removing the bark from the bottom of the tree, which can cause the tree to die.

In addition, unlike gophers, porcupines climb trees and will not normally burrow or tunnel – instead finding hollows and rock formations to sleep in. 

24. Dormice

Scientific Name (family): Gliridae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Dormice are small, burrowing rodents that look like miniature chinchillas and are similar to hamsters. 

Dormice are a family of rodents native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

They’re well-known for being one of the smallest rodents, with sizes averaging about 5 inches in length and weighing no more than about 6 ounces. All look like mice but sport furry tails.

They’re also commonly found in trees and in hedges, leading them to be called “hedge mice” in parts of the world. 

Dormice use burrows to sleep. They also rely on tunnels and burrows built by other animals rather than building their own.

Like the gopher, they also make up a significant part of their diet with berries, nuts, and fruits – although they will sometimes eat insects. 

Dormice were once popular as luxury food items. Today, they’re more common as pets, where they are small but not very social animals that can be kept in cages. 

25. Gerbils

Scientific Name (genus): Meriones
What’s Similar To Gophers: Gerbils are one of the most similar animals to gophers in terms of lifestyle, diet, and tunneling. 

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Gerbils or jirds are common rodents across the African continent, and are mostly native to deserts and steppes.

Like gophers, these animals burrow and can create complex tunnels. Many species are also solitary. However, some species are not and may have colonies of up to 100 members. 

In addition, gerbils hoard and store food underground. Often, food chambers store roots and seeds. However, gerbils will also eat berries, nuts, seeds, and insects, mostly on an opportunistic basis. 

Gerbils look very similar to small gophers. However, they normally have smaller bodies, larger ears, and larger eyes. They also have larger tails, which closely resemble a rat, but with more hair. 

26. Nutrias

Scientific Name: Myocastor coypus
What’s Similar To Gophers: Nutrias or coypu closely resemble gophers or muskrats but like muskrats, are semi-aquatic. 

Nutrias are South American rodents that live in burrows along the water. Their diet consists of plants that grow in those banks, including stems and bulbs.

The nutria is often mistaken for a muskrat, thanks to similar size, coloration, and behavior. However, it inhabits banks and can be very destructive, resulting in erosion and soil loss around rivers. 

In addition, nutrias are now an invasive species in North America, Africa, and Europe. Most are about 2 feet in length and weigh up to 20 pounds. However, some can be larger although that’s rare outside of South America. 

All nutria feature a distinguishing white patch on the nose, which muskrats don’t have. 

27. Degus

Scientific Name (genus): Octodon
What’s Similar To Gophers: Degus are similar to chinchillas and closely related to gophers, and tunnel much like their relatives. 

Degus are a group of five species of rodent, all but one which is endemic to Chile.

These animals look similar to chinchillas but with smaller and straight tails. They also have less fur and aren’t as soft, although they have historically sometimes been hunted for fur. 

Degus are also often kept as pets. Two species are very common as pets, much like guinea pigs and chinchillas, especially in South America. 

Like the gopher, the degus lives in tunnels and burrows. They may store food in a larder. However, they normally eat vegetation as it’s available, which limits their need to store food over the winter.

Most also live in warmer areas rather than mountains, although that’s not consistent across all species. 

28. Rock Rats

Scientific Name (genus): Zyzomys
What’s Similar To Gophers: Rock rats are closely related to gophers, although they live exclusively in Australia. 

Rock rats or thick-tailed rats are a small, furry rodent species native to the deserts of Australia. All of them feature long, fuzzy tails, which significantly differentiates them from true rats.

In addition, they normally live exclusively off of plant matter including roots, nuts, and seeds. However, like most other desert animals, they will feed opportunistically and may eat carrion or insects as it’s available. 

In addition, rock rats are normally endemic to small areas and not found elsewhere. Most are also small, usually not over a few ounces. And, unlike many other rodents, litters normally produce 2-3 cubs. 

Most do not burrow, are mostly solitary, and live in rocky outcroppings and natural covering. Like the gopher, rock rats hoard food and will cache seeds and nuts where they can access them year-round. 

29. Viscacha Rats

Scientific Name (genus): Tympanoctomys
What’s Similar To Gophers: Viscacha rats have social lives extremely similar to those of gophers and even tunnel and dig mounds. 

Viscacha rats look like soft, long-tailed gophers.

In fact, they resemble gophers in almost all other ways as well. For example, they are solitary. They also tunnel and leave large mounds.

Despite living alone, most have very complex burrows with separate rooms for living, food storage, and defecation. 

Viscacha rats also have longer tails than gophers. However, those tails are hairless to the end, where they feature a long tuft. Unlike gophers, viscacha rats prefer dry soil and are frequently found in dunes, salt flats, or scrublands. 

Otherwise, there are many similarities, although their fur looks more like that of a mouse than a gopher’s.

30. Dassie Rat

Scientific Name: Petromus typicus
What’s Similar To Gophers: Dassie rats look like long-tailed gophers although they don’t normally tunnel or burrow. 

Dassie rats are a type of rodent endemic to rocky areas on the African continent. They look like gophers from the front and sides. However, they have extremely long tails, normally longer than the body, and sport long hairs across the tail. 

Dassie rats also live in extremely dry areas and hide from the sun by squeezing into rocky outcroppings. Here, they can fit into crevices many times smaller than their body – thanks to extremely flat skulls and flexible ribs. 

Like gophers, dassie rats feed almost entirely on roots, seeds, and grasses. 

31. Ground Squirrel

Scientific Name (family): Sciuridae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Squirrels have similar body build and head shape and often live in tunnels and burrows. 

Most people think of tree squirrels when you say squirrel. However, squirrels also include prairie dogs, chipmunks, and marmots.

These rodents live above ground or in burrows, consume similar diets to gophers, and may be so similar to gophers that people cannot tell them apart. 

However, the tree squirrel looks very little like a gopher, other than its basic body and head shape. Most also tunnel or burrow, and may live in tree hollows or trunks.

However, all squirrels have cheek pouches and hoard food, which they may bury or store in a larder for later. 

Ground squirrels, especially prairie dogs and marmots, are extremely similar to gophers in appearance. However, they normally have short tails, which tuft upwards, unlike the longer-tailed gopher. 

32. Tree Squirrels 

Scientific Name (family): Sciuridae
What’s Similar To Gophers: Tree squirrels look very similar to slim gophers but live in the trees and have long, bushy tails. 

Tree squirrels, like their ground-dwelling cousins, have a lot in common with gophers.

In fact, these arboreal rodents share a solitary lifestyle, food hoarding, and food choices with gophers. However, they live in trees, often in hollows. 

This normally means squirrels are more reliant on nuts and leafy vegetation than gophers. In addition, they normally only store nuts for the winter.

Squirrels, like gophers, have cheek pouches, where they stuff food and bring it somewhere to bury or to place in their larder. 

Most squirrels are also significantly slimmer and more elongated, so it’s extremely unlikely you’d ever mistake one for the other. 

33. Cane Rats 

Scientific Name (genus): Thyronomys
What’s Similar to Gophers: Cane rats look a lot like large gophers, although they have rat-like tails. 

Cane rats are native to the African continent where they burrow into river and lake banks.

They also specifically like sugarcane, making them one of the largest pests of the crop in Africa. Cane rats are also often hunted for food – thanks to a combination of high protein and large size.

Many weigh as much as 22 pounds. In addition, with lengths sometimes exceeding 2 feet, they are very large rodents. 

Cane rats also look a lot like blind moles but with more rat-like tails. However, those tails are shorter than those of rats. 

Unlike gophers, cane rats also live in small groups, sometimes exceeding 6 members. 


Gophers are extremely common in the United States, so chances are, you can see them if you go outside to grassy fields enough. However, you can’t keep them as pets in many areas and they are considered a pest. Even if you think they’re cute, it’s usually better to leave them alone.

As a member of the rodent family, they’re also remarkably similar to many other animals. The 32 species on this list are all significantly similar to gophers, although many live above ground rather than below it.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

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