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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Food preferences and food location by pocket gophers in Idaho

  • Author(s): Hungerford, Kenneth E.
  • et al.

Pocket gophers (Thomomys talpoides) in environmental systems adapted readily to laboratory conditions. The laboratory equipment is described in this paper. Results are reported, including data on food consumption as it varies with the activity patterns of the gopher and the variation between individual gophers. One gopher used an average of 52 g of food per day for a 131-day period, but during an extremely active 17-day period, the gopher consumed approximately its own weight in food each day (75 g). The experimental setup is described for food location experiments and results indicate that gophers locate their food primarily by odor. Test animals react very quickly (in seconds or minutes) to odor stimuli if the gopher's food cache is depleted and the animal is hungry.

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