Biologist Francis Putz of the University of Florida has collected evidence that gopher gophers are deliberately engaged in a semblance of agriculture and literally grow their food. This is the first of the mammals, in addition to humans, which is engaged in the cultivation of its own food. Farming is common among termites and ants, other species of insects are engaged in it, but mammals have not been seen earlier in this craft.
Putz elaborates that there is no precise scientific interpretation of what food farming is. For example, the basic postulate that you first need to plant a future plant breaks down into a simple example – people in many regions of the planet collect wild fruits. Or the same mushrooms and berries that they did not plant, but people are trying to take care of their places of growth, to prevent the destruction of plants in order to be able to continue to use them.
Gopher rodents make very long tunnels, often close to trees and large shrubs. They try to create conditions under which the roots will be inside the tunnels in order to subsequently feed on them. It is estimated that gophers get up to 60% of their food from the roots of plants, so they try not to destroy them entirely, but eat a little bit, harvesting from vast underground “farms”.
Putz found that gophers carefully monitor the condition of their tunnels and provide comfortable conditions for root growth there. For example, they loosen and aerate the soil, and use their excrement as fertilizer. Gophers also destroy pests that could undermine the roots – that is, they behave like real responsible farmers.