A Richardson’s ground squirrel, also known as a gopher.

Penhold plagued by gophers

Huge gopher boom is creating lots of holes and attracting wild animals

Torrington has the gopher museum.

Penhold just has gophers — lots of them.

“We’ve always had a bit of a gopher issue there,” said Mayor Mike Yargeau on Thursday. “But for whatever reason, whether the good breeding season was good for gophers or what, it’s just skyrocketed.”

The critters, which in central Alberta are usually Richardson’s ground squirrels, have been swarming all over the southeast part of town, along the banks of Penhold’s storm pond.

“They’re getting into people’s yards and they pose a hazard to the community, too. People use that green space and we have a playground going in there.

“This year has been bad. I’ve had pictures sent to me by residents and there are gophers as far as the eye can see.”

Besides creating holes all over the place, the gophers’ burrows are creeping into homeowners’ yards.

While considered a pest by humans, gophers are seen as dinner by many predators.

“Because of the gophers, we have more wild animals coming into town this year. We’ve noticed an increase in foxes coming to town,” Yargeau said, adding coyotes and large birds are also attracted by Penhold’s well-stocked gopher buffet.

“The food’s here, right? You can’t blame them for coming,” he said.

“All that stuff leads to domestic animals going missing or kids potentially getting hurt.”

A few cats have gone missing in the area. While there is no proof the influx of gopher hunters is to blame, it has some residents a little worried.

“We needed to do something about it this year.”

Unlike other green spaces in town, which are surrounded by homes and are gopher-free, the southeast corner of town is next to a farmer’s field.

To get a handle on the gopher situation, council approved funding to contract a pest control company. Further money was set aside to have an ongoing check and control system in place for next year to ensure the problem has been solved.



News tips

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

First-time impaired drivers a focus in Alberta

Province introduces the Provincial Administrative Penalties Act

Red Deer RCMP chase dangerous driving suspect into river

Vehicle chase on Thursday ended at McKenzie Trails, where man tried to escape by running into river

Alberta’s 15.5 % unemployment second worst in country

Only Newfoundland’s 16.3 % unemployment is higher among provinces

National unemployment rate hits new record even as economy adds jobs

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada reports a record high unemployment rate as the… Continue reading

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta

Community organizers come on the show to discuss central Albertan anti-racist movement

If you’re going shopping, please be sure to wear a mask

If you want my opinion, everyone should be wearing a mask while… Continue reading

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta

Community organizers come on the show to discuss central Albertan anti-racist movement

MLB players reaffirm pay stance, no deal with teams in sight

NEW YORK — Baseball players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay,… Continue reading

B.C. Lions players Burnham, Johnson admit they feel safer in Canada than in U.S.

B.C. Lions players Bryan Burnham and Micah Johnson say they feel safer… Continue reading

Universal takes first steps reviving Orlando theme park biz

ORLANDO, Fla. — With masks on their faces and temperature checks at… Continue reading

US commercial casinos won $43.6 billion in 2019, up 3.7%

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Helped by the continuing spread of legal sports… Continue reading

Alberta Opposition calls on government to consult on provincial parks

Alberta Opposition calls on government to consult on provincial parks

Alberta overhauls real estate regulator in wake of prior dysfunctional board

Alberta overhauls real estate regulator in wake of prior dysfunctional board

Most Read