Mountain-Prairie Region
Endangered Species Program

WYOMING POCKET GOPHER

Wyoming Pocket Gopher 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:   After review of a petition seeking to protect the Wyoming pocket gopher under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Service will undertake a more thorough review of the species to determine whether to propose adding the Wyoming pocket gopher to the list of threatened or endangered species.

This petition finding does not mean that the Service has decided it is appropriate to give the Wyoming pocket gopher protection under the ESA. Rather this finding is the first step in a long process that triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information available.

The public is invited to provide comments and information about the species and its habitat. Comments will be accepted until April 10, 2009. Please see the Federal Register notice for more information. Federal Register Notice (link) News Release: Fish and Wildlife Service to Conduct Status Review of the Wyoming Pocket Gopher

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


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