A single gopher can cause a world of hurt for its ability to dig multiple tunnels. Without using some of the best gopher traps on the market, you’ll have a hard time dealing with just one of these fuzzy critters. Don’t settle for anything else since the market is full of high-quality products.
In this article, I’ll give you my thoughts on the design of proper gopher traps and my favorite chemical-free methods for disposing of gophers, moles, and similar backyard pests.
Top 3 - Gopher Traps
7 Best Gopher Traps - Effective & Affordable
The Black Hole reusable gopher trap is a spring-loaded trap designed for maximum effectiveness and quick disposal. It’s made of a rugged plastic material which gives it good resistance against the elements. This also means that you can use it all year round during any season.
Due to the size, the Black Hole trap can be easily repurposed to deal with other common garden pests. You can use it to take care of mice, moles, shrews, rats, and other burrowing nightmares that can wreak havoc on your yard.
It also has a fairly simple mechanism. All you’ll have to do is place the tube-like trap at the entrance or exit of a mound. Do your best to pack some dirt over and around the opening to make it appear more natural. Also, I should mention that you may need a shovel to do it properly.
Due to its size, this gopher trap will need a bigger hole. You might also want to check the trap in the morning and at night. Once you’ve successfully eliminated a pest, dispose of it and relocate the trap. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
The Victor Easy Set Gopher Trap is a pre-assembled galvanized steel trap, which gives impressive durability and weather resistance. What’s also cool is that you can buy them individually or in packs of two or four.
I recommend these traps especially for families with pets and small children. Due to the design, the moving parts will always be below the ground. This eliminates the risk of a small pet or child getting caught in a trap while tinkering around a gopher mound.
Although the manufacturer claims a high capture rate of 48 hours or less, you can’t really take that to the bank. The trap will only be as efficient as its placement. If you have the bad luck of installing a trap in an unoccupied mound, you could leave it there for days and not catch anything.
Anyway, the narrow design of the trap will make it easy to insert at tunnel entrances and exits. You may want to consider reinforcing the tunnel exits too. That’s because the traps are a bit sensitive and it’s possible for them to snap if a gopher throws enough dirt at them.
Since the traps all come pre-assembled, all you have to do is insert them in the mound and maybe dig out some dirt to make some more room. Either way, it’s all but a one-handed operation.
The Cinch Gopher Trap is yet another multipurpose trap that will help you get rid of rodents in a chemical-free manner. This trap works by snapping shut quickly around the neck. This is considered as a more humane way of getting rid of pests since everything happens so fast.
Made of galvanized steel, the Cinch Gopher Trap can be used during all seasons and reused for pretty much all pests that can mess up your yard. The heavy-duty build also means that you can get a few years of use out of a single trap, making this investment a very smart one.
To increase your chances of success, it’s important that you follow all the instructions carefully. The trap comes with a very detailed guide that should get you up and running even if you’ve never used a spring-loaded trap before.
The most important thing to remember is that the trap should be placed inside a gopher tunnel. If the tunnel is at least two to three inches in diameter, you shouldn’t have a problem setting up the trap there.
The LassoTrap Gopher Trap has been designed specifically for gophers. If you want something that takes care of other burrowers, the manufacturer has other traps for those. As for your gopher problems, you should know that this trap comes in two sizes.
The right size is the one with a jaw diameter of 2.5”. This trap will be ideal to use in 2-7/8” holes and up to 3.5”. This covers pretty much all gopher tunnels.
In terms of durability, there’s nothing to worry about since the trap is made of galvanized steel. It’s fully reusable and has an oil hardened steel spring which won’t fail under hot or freezing outside temperature. Once the rodent is caught, you can use an easy release mechanism to dispose of it, without having to touch the darn thing.
That doesn’t mean that you have to have a pair of gloves on. Rugged work gloves are recommended since the jaws of the LassoTrap Gopher Trap pack a bit of power. As far as installation goes, the trap can be set up in five steps. A printed and illustrated guide comes with each purchase of the gopher trap.
Sweeney’s offers some of the most affordable gopher traps on the market. This Twin Pack costs about as much as what other brands want for a single trap.
Even though these are very budget-friendly traps, they’re still made entirely of steel, which gives them good strength, kill power, and repeated reuse. The powder coating is also nice as it improves durability and resistance to the elements.
Before operating, you should know that these are pincher-style traps. This design has a very efficient kill mechanism which takes care of gophers in a humane way. What’s even better is that the trap is safe to use in a household with kids and pets.
Since all of the moving components will be underground, it’s highly unlikely that anything other than gophers and other underground rodents would get in the way of the traps. This is something I always value when comparing traps from different manufacturers.
The setup is quite easy too. You’ll notice that the Twin Pack comes with an illustration depicting the four steps involved in installing the traps at both ends of the mound. It’s not a one-hand setup, but it’s fairly easy to do nonetheless.
The Gopher Hawk is one of the most complete trapping packages. That’s because the trap comes with a wedge and a probing tool which should make it a lot easier to detect the location and direction of the tunnels.
Using the wedge, you should be able to expand the diameter of the tunnel just enough to accommodate the spring-loaded trap without collapsing it. This is always the risky part of any gopher trap installation.
The reason why this works better is because the wedge doesn’t affect the soil inward. Instead, it compresses it outward to expand the hole. After that, you can just insert your Gopher Hawk trap and pull on the sleeve to set the trigger.
You won’t even have to touch the dirt to get the job done. I also like that you won’t come into contact with the pest once caught thanks to the length of this vertical trap. Another reason why I recommend this product is the visual notification for a sprung trap. The bright yellow catch indicator will always be above ground and visible from far away.
Although this is an innovative product, there are some build issues that are worth mentioning, such as the susceptibility to rust and the non-fully-primed spring mechanism. Note that this doesn’t happen too often, but you might want to order two of these just to be on the safe side.
Although gophers can cause a lot of problems, not everyone agrees about inflicting physical harm on them. You may just want to catch the rodent without impaling it on anything. If that’s the case, the old cage trap such as this one by AB Traps may work better for you.
The AB Traps Humane Trap is big enough for mice, rats, gophers, and even larger animals. Once the trap is sprung, the single door closes and the locking mechanism keeps the animal in place. This allows you to dispose of it somewhere else and then reuse the trap on another mound. (Of course, there are other disposal methods. Some people may drown the rodent before getting rid of it. But you absolutely don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, just saying.)
This cage trap is larger than most gopher traps. Although AB Traps offers this in multiple sizes and materials, I’d recommend the single-door steel cage.
The 12.5”x6.5”x5” cage, for example, is perfect for gophers. If you know anything about these traps, you know that you may have to use some bait to lure the gophers inside.
Types of Gopher Traps
Wire traps are the most recognizable for they’ve been used to trap mice and other rodents for the longest time. These typically have claws or prongs that clamp down on the gopher when it triggers the trap.
Black hole traps are tunnel-like traps that squeeze the gopher. They feature a spring-loaded wire mechanism. They’re also often considered superior due to the underground moving parts that are kept away from pets and kids.
Box traps have two subtypes. There are kill traps and non-kill traps. The non-kill traps are usually cages that can be used to trap even larger pests. But the main difference is in the power of the spring-loaded wire mechanism.
In no-kill traps, this mechanism only immobilizes the pest without killing it. Some box traps are also completely covered so that you won’t have to look at the mess on the inside.
Note that wire or pincher-style traps come in a variety of designs. But the basic catching mechanism is usually the same.
Gopher traps are preferred because they rarely require the use of bait or harmful chemicals that can cause damage do your yard, pets, or kids. Regardless, there are still safety concerns regarding gopher traps.
Not all manufacturers design their traps with “hidden” catching mechanisms. To figure out how safe, you’ll have to look at the trap and determine how much of it will be hidden underground.
If the catching mechanism is completely under the surface, then the trap would be more convenient and safer to use.
The Importance of Materials
You’ll notice that not all gopher traps are equally well-built. Most of the good ones are reusable. This means that it has to be made from durable materials that are immune to the weather.
Galvanized steel is popular for its resistance to rust, which means that the trap should be just as easy to use in the spring as they are in the winter. It also means that you can use it repeatedly on all mounds until you’re sure your pest problem is over.
Engineering plastic is not a bad choice either. You may save some money and wind, rain, or snow won’t affect it all that much. However, plastic traps may not last a terribly long time since the catching mechanism is likely to fail sooner than later.
Safe Way to Dispose of Pests
The gopher traps in this article were selected for quality and effectiveness. Whether kill or no-kill, the traps are all fairly easy to install. You don’t have to deal with toxic chemicals nor touch a dead animal to get rid of it.