Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region

Wyoming Pocket Gopher

Wyoming pocket gopherRange Map


 

Species Description:  The Wyoming pocket gopher (Thomomys clusius) is a small, lighter-colored member of the Geomyidae family, with a length of approximately 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 inches and a weight 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 oz.  The species is characterized by very strong front limbs with long nails used for digging, small ears, small eyes, and fur-lined cheek pouches used to carry food.  Pocket gophers are fossorial, living most of their lives in burrow systems and underground tunnels. 

Very little is known about the Wyoming pocket gopher, and assumptions about its distribution, ecology, and status are based on a few museum records and anecdotal reports from about 30 years ago.  Distribution of the species is believed to be restricted to Sweetwater and Carbon Counties in Wyoming, with a possible occurrence in very northern Colorado

Based on the life histories of other pocket gophers, Wyoming pocket gophers likely do not live more than two breeding seasons, reproduce the calendar year following birth, and have one litter with 4 to 6 young per year.  The species’ diet is likely primarily the roots, stems, and leaves of forbs, with some consumption of grasses and shrubs.

Recent Actions:   On April 14, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the Wyoming pocket gopher does not warrant protection as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Service biologists assessed risks to the species’ survival in determining whether to list the small, furry mammal under the ESA. Energy development, road construction and use, the proliferation of non-native plant species and climate change were all analyzed as threats to the species. However, based on the best science available, the threats were not dire enough to result in a listing status.

 

Notice of 90-day petition finding and initiation of status review.

More information can be found on the Service's ECOS webpage

Last updated: April 16, 2010