How to Make a Gopher Trap

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Although adorable, gophers can wreak havoc on a garden
Although adorable, gophers can wreak havoc on a garden (Image: Wikimedia Commons; National Park Service; Public Domain)

Although gophers may be cute and cuddly in appearance, they can also be destructive to gardens. If you are having a problem with gophers on your property, but are hesitant to use lethal forms of pest control, there is a way to construct a gopher trap that can help you capture the pests, without physically harming them.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 to 2-foot-long wooden box or a wire cage with a door or hatch on only one end
  • Fishing string
  • 1-inch piece of carrot

Cut a small hole at the opposite end of the side of the box with the door or hatch. Center the hole and cut it only half the size of the carrot. If the carrot can slip through, sideways, it's too large. If you are using a wire cage, bypass this step.

Cut a piece of fishing string about 4 feet in length. Slip one end through the hole from the outside. Next, reach your hand within the box or cage and tie the carrot to the fishing string. Once the carrot is attached, pull on the fishing string from the outside of the box. If you cut the hole correctly, it should not slip through. If you are using a wire cage and the carrot slips through, simply cut a larger piece of carrot.

Position the cage so the door or hatch closes from top to bottom. Next, tie the other end of the fishing string to the top part of the door or hatch. Tie it tightly at the center of the door or hatch. If your door or hatch is wooden, you may need to cut a hole here, too. If you are using a wire cage, simply tie the string to the wire. Before you tie the string, however, reduce the slack to the point where the door hangs over the ground at a 45-degree angle. If you've done things correctly, the fishing line attached to the carrot within the box or cage should be holding the door or hatch suspended. If your door or hatch won't stay open, reduce the amount of slack in the string and try again.

Set your trap near your garden or a gopher colony. Eventually, a curious gopher will wonder into the trap for a quick snack. Once he consumes the carrot, the fishing string should easily pass through the hole in the back and the door or hatch will suddenly fall closed before the gopher has a chance to escape. Now, you have trapped a gopher without injuring it. You can either relocate it or turn it over to animal control.

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