Gophers are one of the largest rodents in North America. Part of the squirrel family, they are close cousins of the marmot and the groundhog. They are abundant and resilient, able to survive in almost any climate and terrain. They are also extremely cute when you get a close look. Normally shy and reclusive, they run for their burrows at the slightest sign of danger. Almost any movement will send them on a full trot in the direction of safety. The sight of a gopher at full speed is extremely comical due to their abundance of body fat which makes them jiggle like a bowl of jello. This isn't surprising, considering the fact that gophers spend the majority of their day eating and sleeping. They eat grass and plants of almost any kind, but they also adore fruits and vegetables. This large, female gopher has just given birth to several babies who are still nursing. They eat solid food too, but they are not yet weaned. Apple slices left beside her hole were irresistible for her and she grabbed hold of one and stood on her hind legs like a little person to gobble it up. This is a wild gopher, but it lives in a field beside an area with high pedestrian traffic. It was surprising how comfortable it was approaching the human who was offering a treat. But, as it turns out, somebody else has been feeding this gopher almost every day for two years. While the camera was recording, a young man walked by and dropped a piece of sandwich at the opening to her burrow. When asked if this was a normal occurrence, he explained that he always saves a piece of his lunch for the gopher and leaves it on his way by each afternoon. Sometimes she runs toward him eagerly as he gets close. He has found that she likes fruit, vegetables, bread, and even cookies.
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