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The Corridor's gopher guy

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By Amy Ryffel-Kragh

Did you ever wonder what that freshly-turned mound of dirt in your lawn or garden is? Well, it might be the work of a pocket gopher.

No not the cute, cumbersome and once common land turtle that is protected by law – the Florida gopher tortoise. These furry animals live underground, do their damage sight unseen and can turn a beautiful lawn into an eyesore overnight.

After holes began popping up everywhere in his lawn, Fred Robinson decided to do something about it. While trying to figure out what was causing the problem the former law enforcement officer, with his wife, Claudia, began doing some investigating.

He soon discovered the mounds in the yard of his On Top of the World home were caused by a pocket gopher. “They destroy your yard,” he said.

Once Robinson rid his lawn of the rodents, he began talking to neighbors and taking care of their gopher problems also. “I’ve kind of caught gophers for everybody. It’s fun,” he said.

After speaking with his boss at Aaron Pest Control, which has its headquarters in DeLand, Robinson began offering the service of trapping gophers. Now he’s the guy to see if you want to catch the critter that’s tearing up your lawn.

Robinson is reluctant to give out tricks of the gopher hunting trade and the tunneling varmints aren’t easy to snag. After setting a trap for a gopher, it hard to predict how quickly it will be caught. “Sometimes they’re pretty hard to get,” he said. It could take 30 minutes or 3 days.

However, Robinson guarantees that the pesky gopher will be caught within five days or he will remove it free of charge.

About Pocket Gophers

The dirt mound left in their wake is the result of the animal digging a tunnel. They live underground and many people never see the pocket gopher that is destructively decorating their lawn.

Robinson said he has seen the “shy” animal peek its head out, but then quickly stick its head back into its home. Then, it closes up the hole.

Though it might appear that there are several or even a family of gophers tearing up one yard, Robinson said that not’s likely. All those holes are the work of one rodent, which he describes as a “very solitary” and “secretive” creature.

Pocket gophers are prevalent throughout the southern United States. The destructive rodents generally do their dirty work in early morning or early evening.

Robinson is a licensed gopher trapper and offers his services to OTOW residents at a special rate. Fees for homeowners in other areas of Marion County vary. For more information, call Fred at 817-1983.