I spent a few moments with this Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) at Little Manatee River State Park last week. I felt fortunate to have that opportunity since this terrapin is considered threatened in Florida.

Consummate diggers, Gopher Tortoises are considered a keystone species as their extensive holes are often appropriated by others. Biologists have noted at least 360 other species (burrowing owls, mice, snakes, rabbits, frogs, etc) seeking shelter in their burrows.

Last note, of the five tortoises in North America, four of them live west of the Mississippi River.

Categories: Nature Notes

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