Gopher Turtles

Where exactly do you get a name at? The Lion is the King of the Jungle right? If I had one it probably would not be so flattering, alright now keep the wise cracks to you self! This brings me to an animal that has been given a name with some authority. The Gopher Tortoise, Nature’s Landlord or maybe the Landlord of the Sand hills, either way it is definitely better than the moniker I would probably end up with. Its’ claws are wide and flat with little protective scales extending up the tortoises shovel like front legs. Titusville Wildlife Removal

Turtle on Brown Ground

Their burrows can be up to 40 feet long and 10 feet deep, descending in a 30 degree angle. The width of the burrow is usually the length of tortoise, allowing for it to turn around in any part of the burrow. The male Gopher Tortoise can have a mean of 17 burrows while the feminine preserves an average of 9, but it is common to have more than 1 tortoise sharing the same burrow. Fellow tortoises are not the only species which share the burrows, actually not even close. The name Nature’s Landlord comes in the fact up to 360 different animal species seek refuge in the tortoises burrow.

The list contains the gopher frog, the Florida mouse, opossum, indigo snake, pine snake, armadillo, burrowing owl, gopher cricket, scarab beetles, the Florida Scrub-jay and many others. The Gopher Tortoise is chilly averaging 10 inches long and up to 9lbs, its’ life span ranges from 40- 60 years but in captivity can live over 100 years. This specific tortoise belongs to a group of land tortoises that originated in North America almost 60 million years back and from the almost 23 species known to have existed on this continent as little as 4 species remain today. After a year the female tortoise will lay an average of 6 eggs based on their body size and it takes about 100 days for the eggs to incubate.

The gopher tortoises have temperature dependent sex determination, if the temperature of the sand is over 30 degrees the hatchlings will be female and below 30 degrees they’ll be male. The man tortoise has a concaved plastron (bottom shell) with a protruding plastron beneath the tortoises chin while the female’s bottom shell is perfectly horizontal.

When the tortoises head and neck are completely retracted into the shell, the tortoise is generally protected from most predators. Even though the tortoise has some natural threats like disease and climate, humans are the primary cause for the decline of this species. In a list ranging from street mortalities to habitat destruction human interaction has played a significant role in bringing this gentle herbivore closer to extinction. Florida has the gopher tortoise present in all 67 counties that has it on the list as a species of special concern.

Other states like Georgia, Louisiana. And Alabama have them listed as a threatened species but South Carolina and Mississippi have the tortoise on the endangered species list. The Gopher tortoise is an important part of the ecosystem and a few of the species that share its burrows could not exist without them. Raising awareness and enforcing the protective laws is the only hope to maintain Nature’s Landlord from being evicted

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