Spring is quickly approaching, which means burrowing rodents will soon be emerging from a winter spent underground.

In the Four Corners, our most common burrowing rodents are gophers and Gunnison’s prairie dog. If you have lived in the area for even a small amount of time, you have likely noticed one or both of these species’ burrows on the open prairie or in someone’s crop field. Perhaps you have even dealt with them on your property.

If you currently have burrows from either gophers or prairie dogs, it is important to know the creature’s habits, the threats they can pose, and when treatments are necessary.

Hibernation & Activity 

The Gunnison’s prairie dog stays underground for long periods during winter, relying on their stored body fat and stored food supply during hibernation. After hibernation, they become active again around March or April.

Gophers, on the other hand, are active year-round but remain underground in winter where they are less noticeable because of snow cover.

Both species of burrowing rodents dig extensive burrow systems that provide protection as well as a place to store or gather food. Prairie dogs often gather food above ground and store it under the surface. Whereas gophers, while digging, tend to feed on roots and pull surface vegetation into their tunnel systems.

These tunnel systems can divert water and cause a significant loss in surface irrigation. This, of course, creates an issue for your crops and fields.


Prairie dogs and gophers can be a nuisance to any homeowner. Their tunneling not only poses a threat to crops and fields but can tear up gardens and cause damage to the foundation of structures as well. They are also notorious for digging, gnawing, and chewing. Plus, their presence will attract unwanted predators to your home. 

Both species also carry diseases that are transmittable to livestock, pets, and humans. These include plague and hantavirus, which can be very serious if contracted. For more information on transmittable illnesses, visit our prairie dog and gopher disease pages. 


Though Southwest Colorado and Northern New Mexico use a variety of removal techniques, our team has determined that the PERC method (Pressurized Exhaust Rodent Control) is the most successful while also aligning with our values – to provide environmentally safe and humane treatments.

PERC is a state-of-the-art solution that targets burrowing rodents without compromising crops and vegetation or endangering other wildlife. The process involves injecting carbon monoxide into the tunnel system with great accuracy. Then, the gas will spread throughout the tunnel, putting the rodents to sleep. This is safe, humane, and highly effective if it is done under extreme pressure.

 Using Pressurized Exhaust Rodent Control ( PERC) means there is no poison left behind, and no blasting, digging, or trapping. This method is also completely safe to use around pets and livestock.


If you are dealing with burrowing rodents, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to answer any questions or provide you with a free quote.