I was born in miami but grew up in central florida. While visiting home a couple years ago I had this fantastic encounter with a beautiful Gopher tortoise.  So in honor of my wishing this would happen again and again and again I’m posting these pics with some info. (P.S. since this is long and you might no read it all…most important info : when happening upon a natural habitat like this you shouldn’t, and I didn’t,  pick up, touch, move, try and snuggle, offer it some of your sandwich, put your trash in its burrow or anything like that no matter how much you want to. Let em be man). and now…


( I know how much you all love fun facts)

  • Gopher tortoise burrows are usually easy to spot in the landscape because of the characteristic mound of loose sand at the burrow entrance (called the “apron”). Burrows can be up to 40 feet (12 meters) in length and 10 feet (3 meters)
  • Tortoise burrows also afford refuge to other animals including more than 360 animal species. The list includes the indigo snake, pine snake, gopher frog, Florida mouse, opossum, armadillo, burrowing owl, gopher cricket, scarab beetles, and many others. Some, such as the Florida mouse, cannot exist without the tortoise burrow. I wrote about this in a previous post but think of all these images of the earth on the tortoise shell you’ve seen depicted by artists and read about in myths. Pretty darn awesome.
  • Gopher tortoises are thought to live in excess of 60 years.

Gopher tortoises are afforded different levels of legal protection throughout their range

  • Georgia state listed as a Threatened Species
  • Florida state listed as a Threatened Species
  • South Carolina state listed as an Endangered Species
  • Mississippi  state listed as a Threatened Species
  • Louisiana state listed as a Threatened Species
  • Alabama  protected non-game species; populations west of the Tombigbee and Mobile Rivers are federally listed as a Threatened species

All fun facts provided by The Gopher Tortoise Council. Click through to read more fun facts, donate, or join!

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