Gopher Tortoise

Furball1

Explorer
Dec 11, 2005
378
1
Florida
My wife and I hiked a trail yesterday through Dunn's Creek State Park south of Palatke, FL and were fascinated with 3 Gopher Tortoises we encountered on the trail, 2 were in individual large holes/excavations---they were very large. Whenever we encounter these fascinating critters, I am amazed by their size---in fact, I've never seen a small one, like a juvenile. They're about 3-4X's larger than the biggest box turtle I've ever seen up north. Can anyone shed light on them? Longevity, or otherwise? Thanks!
 

uuglypher

Explorer
Jun 8, 2005
381
18
Estelline, SD
Furball1 said:
My wife and I hiked a trail yesterday through Dunn's Creek State Park south of Palatke, FL and were fascinated with 3 Gopher Tortoises we encountered on the trail, 2 were in individual large holes/excavations---they were very large. Whenever we encounter these fascinating critters, I am amazed by their size---in fact, I've never seen a small one, like a juvenile. They're about 3-4X's larger than the biggest box turtle I've ever seen up north. Can anyone shed light on them? Longevity, or otherwise? Thanks!

Just a caution: gopher tortoise holes are favored retreats of the eastern diamondbacked rattlesnake - and they may rest out of the sun just inside the entrance. I've come upon several under just those circumstances.

As for longevity of the species, I've heard of several in captivity that were over 50, but suspect that actual longevity is potentially much longer. When you have a moment, do a google search on it! Oh yeah... they are endangered and federally protected.

Dave
 

Stu

Explorer
Feb 19, 2004
466
0
39
White Haven, PA
www.stuofdoom.com
Cattus Island rescued one some years back; they guessed it was 7 or 8. It easily outsized all their other turtles. They said it was from Florida, and I always wondered how they came across it. My guess is someone released it up here.
 

Krloucks

Explorer
Oct 22, 2005
144
0
Bensalem, Pa
www.krloucks.com
Smallest one I have found was the size of a box turtle. That particular individual was crossing I-95 at the New Smyrna exit in Fla. Of course I had to get off the exit and clamour up the embankment to "rescue" the little guy. When I reached the top of the hill, here he was chomping on the grass growing from a crack in the blacktopped shoulder of the highway! I could not find his burrow anywhere nearby so I just placed him in the grass well away from the highway, though he probably backtracked to where he was coming from.
Most other individuals I have found through the years have been large adults. Other denizens of burrows I have been fortunate enough to see was a Florida Gopher Frog and burrowing owls.
k
 

Furball1

Explorer
Dec 11, 2005
378
1
Florida
Forget Rattlers

Hey, I-95, especially in THAT area, is far more dangerous than a Rattler! My wife knew a physician who stopped to assist some folks who were in a car wreck (a few miles south of where you got out) , and was run over by a tractor trailer right in front of his family. And by the way, I looked inside the G-tortoise holes from a distance using my binoculars---I knew about the rattlers enjoying co-habitation. Thanks!
 
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