Florida Gopher Tortoise
April 23, 2012 Leave a comment
Gopher Tortoises are a threatened species in Florida. In general, adult tortoises reach up to 12 inches long, and weigh 10-30 pounds. Gopher tortoises live a long time (wild tortoises live 40-60 years, and in captivity live up to 100 years). Tortoises are often seen sunning themselves at the entrance to their sandy burrows. Eggs are laid near the entrance mound during the warmer months; hatchling sex depends on temperature. The average length of an underground burrow is 15 feet, but one record burrow was 47 feet long! Over 350 species share the burrow with the tortoise, so it can get a little crowded in there sometimes (besides the tortoise, burrow inhabits include snakes, spiders, crickets, skinks, the Florida mouse, cottontail rabbit, and burrowing owls). When it rains, gopher tortoises use their feet to puddle up water for a drink; otherwise they do not seek out water.