Wisdom From The Experts Pt 4 & 5 Two Turtle and Tort experts, two related pieces of wisdom to share about turtle and tortoise anatomy! Lori Neuman-Lee, PhD (@CheloniaGirl ), prof at Utah State University, says – “I wish people knew that turtles can’t come out of their shells…because their shells are part of their...
Words of Wisdom from the Experts Pt 3- “I wish people knew how smart turtles are. They learn quickly where their food comes from; if from a human then they learn that specific person” Is what Michelle Kelly (@MichelleKellyCW), public speaker about Reptiles and amphibians, wishes more people knew about turtles and tortoises. Those of...
Words of wisdom from the experts pt 2 Check out this INCREDIBLE photo by Amanda Hipps, @biophilamanda, one of the experts who responded to our #worldturtleday question. Amanda studies the animals that live in gopher tortoise burrows. In case you didn’t know, gopher tortoise burrows are home to hundreds of other animals. Their status as endangered directly...
This year, in honor of #WorldTurtleDay, we asked herpetologists, biologists, rescues, and rehabbers, to tell us what they wish more people knew about Turtles and Tortoises. Starting today we’ll be sharing a few responses a day! Let’s learn more about the animals we love from people who have devoted their lives to protecting them. Biologist...
Happy Gopher Tortoise Day! Habitat loss and fragmentation is one of the greatest threats to gopher tortoises. Today I’m dreaming about a connected Wild Florida that supports both humans and wildlife. Thanks to the determination of many Floridians, conservation of the gopher tortoise has come a long way, but there’s still a lot of work to do. .
That’s right! Today, April 10th, is Gopher Tortoise Day!
The Florida Gopher Tortoise is an incredible creature whose existence has been seriously impacted by urbanization, disease, poaching, and other human actions. According to national geographic, their numbers have declined by 70 PERCENT in the last century! That’s a frightening loss for the species and for the 360+ other animals whose own existence rely on the burrows Gopher tortoise create!
The video above features one of the most outgoing tortoises Hipps’ observes regularly, Gertrude. In the article, she describes Gertrude an alpha female and discusses the social behaviors she and her fellow researchers have observed while studying them.
“Most of the tortoises are pretty shy and skittish, but not Gertrude,” says Hipps. If someone approaches Gertrude’s underground home she often begins to head-bob—a telltale sign of tortoise aggression—before charging forward and possibly ramming your shoes, she says.
An understanding and respect for Gopher Tortoises, the creatures that depend on them is a must for everyone but especially those who live among them. This year, Sanibel island joined the many cities that celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day, by sharing information and advocating for conservation awareness.
Joel Cauette, Part of Sanibel Island’s Natural resources department, shared some basics on how to respect the habitat and activities of the Gopher Tortoise
“The species needs plenty of sandy sunny habitats with an open tree canopy to thrive and survive, according to the FWC. Officials advised that it is best to leave gopher tortoises and their half-moon shaped burrow entrances alone. It is illegal to disturb or harm them, their burrows or their eggs.
To help a gopher tortoise cross a road, pick it up and place it on the roadside in the direction it was heading. Also remember that the tortoise is a land animal – never attempt to put it into water.”
So take some time to learn about the gopher tortoise today, about their impact on the environment around them, and how you can help ensure the species exists for many more Gopher Tortoise Days to come!
And if you’re interested in the research mentioned above? Consider Follow Amanda Hipps (@biophiliamanda) and Bethany Augliere (@BethanyAugliere) on twitter! You’ll learn so much!