I’m always interested in where words come from. Some have stories that reduce me to giggles (at least inside). For example, reading in Nadeau and Barlow’s The Story of French (2006, pg. 102; French words are italicized), I read:
Gofer (gopher) is a deformation of gauffre (waffle), which described the waffle-like holes that prairie dogs dug.
I think both gopher and prairie dogs elevate the rodents’ profiles…and sound more upscale than some rodent names like rat and nutria—but definitely not others like mouse and chipmunk (the latter perhaps a corruption of an Ojibwe/Chippewa/Anishinaabemowin word).