The Florida mouse and gopher tortoise have been in a serious relationship for thousands of years.
Theirs is a commensal
one: The Florida mouse uses the gopher tortoise’s burrow as shelter from
the heat, but the tortoise gains nothing.
Once a Florida mouse
has found a gopher tortoise burrow, it will dig a side passageway or
nest chamber off the main tunnel and make itself at home.
Research does not always support these relationships lasting over long periods of time. But a recent study conducted by museum researchers and published in the Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History revealed that these two species have been linked for at least 1.35 million years…