GOPHER, a name of somewhat indefinite significance, varying in different localities, where it is used to designate different animals. It is a corruption of the French word gauffre, a honeycomb, which was applied by the French settlers in America to various burrowing animals which "honeycomb" the soil. The term gopher or gauffre is applied not only to burrowing mammalians, but, in the southern states, to the large land tortoise • (tested° poyphemus, see Towrotse), and in Georgia, it is said, to a species of snake. The mammalian gophers, to which the name is more popularly applied, belong to the order HoDENTIA., family muridce, which embraces the rats, mice, hamsters, lemmings, voles, etc. The gophers are not confined to one genus, and other families embrace animals having all the gopher characteristics. Under the genus geomys, Rafinesque placed tho hamsters of Georgia (G. pinetis) and the pouched rat of Canada (G. bursaries). In the genus diplostoraa, he placed sonic Missouri and says sir John Rich ardson, "known to the Canadian voyagers by the appellation of gauffrcs," and remark able for their large cheek pouches. These two genera have been adopted by few natur alists; and the American systematic writers have either overlooked M. Rafinesque's species entirely, or referred them all to G. bursaries, and he says, "in the latter case they are undoubtedly wrong, for there are at least six or seven distinct species belonging to one or other of these genera which inhabit America," and he thinks that " both geamys and diplostama will eventually prove to be good genera; the small sand-rats belonging to the former having cheek pouches which are filled from within the mouth. and the gauffres or camas-rats of the latter genus having their cheek pouches exterior to the mouth, and entirely unconnected with its cavity." The animal usually called the pouched gopher (G. bursaries) is found in Canada, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, -Texas, Mexico, and the gulf states, but, it is said, not n. of the Savannah river. It is about 9 in. long, with an almost hairless tail about 2 in. Ione, and Weighs about 13 ounces. Its legs are short; fore feet strong, and well adapted 'for burrowing, having five claws, the three middle ones very large and long. The claws on the hind feet are small, but the two middle ones longer than the others, the interior one being almost rudimentary. It has twenty
teeth; eight upper and eight lower molars, and four incisors which are very strong, especially the lower pair, which arc much longer than the upper. The cars are very small. The animal is reddish-brown on the hack and sides, ashy beneath, and has white feet. It burrows in sandy soils, throwing up the earth in little mounds. It sub sists on grass, roots, nuts, liuds, and farm vegetables. Its most remarkable characteris tic is tile possession of pouches which cover the side of the head, and are capable of being so distended as to enable the animal to carry a considerable load of provisions. The true southern gopher, or Georgia hamster (G. pinete:y), is a larger animal, found in Ala bama, Georgia, and Florida. Prof. Baird describes five other species. On the Pacific coast there are several kinds of gophers. Sir John Richardson's G. Dor glasli was 6+ in. long, with a tail nearly three incites, cheek pouches large, resembling the thumb of a glove, hanging down by the side of the head. When in the net of emptying its pouches the animal sits on its hams, like a marmot, or squirrel, and squeezes the sacks against his breast with his chin and fore paws. These little animals are numerous about fort Vancouver, where they burrow in the sides of sand-hills, feeding on acorns and other nuts, grass, buds, potatoes, and other root crops of the farmers. There are other spe cies in America which are called, in the localities where they abOund, gophers, or gauf fres. All those not inhabiting warns climates hibernate. There are many similar animals iu various parts of the world, having the same habits, such as the coast rat, or cape rat, or brant, of the Cape of Good Hope, which undermines the ground to an extent which makes it dangerous to ride over it on horseback, and difficult to proceed cn foot. The jumping mice, or jerboas, of which the ge•bo, or Egyptian jerboa may lie consid ered as the type, now placed in another family (dipodi(la), would naturally, in -this country, come under the name of gopher, and the same may be said of the marmots, now placed in still another family with the squirrels (Seiu•icia), for the Alpine marmot is about as gopher-like in its habits as any of the neimals so named. See RODENTIA.