Menu with CSS3 Css3Menu.com

North Brevard Business & Community Directory

Gopher tortoise drinking from puddles in parking lot in the rain.
A tortoise in the rain drinking from puddles.

Gopher Tortoise -- "Ask an Expert"
2020

| Gopher Tortoise Homepage | 1998 - 2006 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 |

Click here to submit a question to our expert.

Please use a "subject" specific to your question.
Include your state & county. A picture is often helpful.

Idea! FIND IT QUICKLY! -- FIND WHAT YOU NEED BY "KEYWORD:" Use your browser's page search (FIND) ability (Ctl or Cmd "F") to search for the "keyword" you wish to locate: Use Ctl or Cmd "G" to "find next."




From: Christy, Subject: Horses, Dogs and GTs, Date: June 20, 2020
I have 2 large retrievers, horses and 10 acres. We have a backyard area fenced as well. We have a number of GTs living on the property, mainly in the back pastures. I've had some leg injuries where the horses have punched through the tops of the burrows. Twice I've taken GTs to a rehab place for puncture holes when my dogs 'retrieved' them. And I've pulled a baby out of the dogs mouth once. The dogs do go outside of the backyard when I'm out with them.
Recently however a couple are trying to move in with us. A mid sized one has built a burrow going from the outside of the backyard going into the backyard under the fence. The entrance has enlarged so that the dogs can get to the opening so I've put a welcome mat over the part of the entrance inside the yard. (One of the previous punctures were from a similar situation.) Another (I think, slightly larger) has dug a burrow next to the garage under the meter box.

My questions:
• Short of having a multitude of 25' circles of fencing around the burrows, any ideas for protecting the burrows/tortoises from the horses out in the pasture? And vice versa.
• Ideas for making the area around the house less attractive?
• Suggestions for good neighborship between dogs and GTs?
Thanks, Christy

Hi Christy,
      When I first started reading your post, I thought for sure you were going to ask me how to remove the tortoises from your property. I am so glad that you want to have good "neighborship". Here are some suggestions to try; if they don't work, let me know and we'll come up with a Plan B.
      I have heard that putting pin flags around the burrows will "warn" the horses to beware. The flags should not be put in the mouth of the burrow (the tortoises will just knock them over going in and out) and they don't have to be very far behind the burrow because the burrow will get too deep to be collapsed by a horse stepping on it pretty quickly. You can get pin flags at most any hardware store.
      Not sure what to say about the dogs. You can try to train them or keep them physically separated from the tortoises. Not sure if either of those is a realistic option. When I had a tortoise for awhile at my house for rehab, my dog eventually got used to it and left it alone. Of course, he was a poodle mix, not a retriever. :-)
      As far as your yard goes, tortoises like to eat short grass, but I don't know if you want to let the grass in your yard get too long.
      You could bury something 12-18 inches in the ground around the fence perimeter so they can't dig under.
      I hope at least some of this is helpful. Thanks again for not wanting to evict the tortoises. Let me know how it goes.
            Becky


From: diane, Subject: Armadillos, Date: June 13, 2020
I have read that armadillos eat the Gopher tortoise eggs. Do they scare away or harm the tortoise in any other way?

Armadillos don't intentionally scare or hunt tortoises, but they do mess up their burrows if they use them. It is very unusual for a tortoise to reoccupy a burrow once an armadillo has moved in, even if it doesn't stay.
            Becky

From: diane, Subject: Re: Fwd: Armadillos, Date: June 15, 2020
Oh that is so sad to hear. We will be very sorry if out little friend doesn't come back. Armadillos are making a strong appearance in the burrow areas.

If the tortoise likes the area and the armadillos don't tear it up too badly, it will probably just dig another burrow. I hope so!
            Becky


From: Long Tribe, Subject: Human Benefits, Date: June 10, 2020
How are Gopher Tortoises beneficial to humans?

That is an interesting question. Years ago, before gopher tortoises were protected by the various states and the Endangered Species Act, they were a source of food for many people. Now the benefits that we have from gopher tortoises are not as direct, but just as important. They are an integral part of the landscape and ecology where they occur, mostly because their burrows provide homes and/or refugia for over 300 different types of animals. Because of that, they have been designated a "keystone species"; if gopher tortoises are removed or disappear from an area, the habitat is radically changed, and not for the better.
      I think the best answer to your question is that gopher tortoises and humans are both part of the complicated web of life we have on Earth, and all of the parts are necessary for everyone's health and well-being.
            Becky


From: Marta, Subject: How can I tell what kind of turtle / tortoise knocked on my door?, Date: June 10, 2020
To me it looks like a Gopher Tortoise, but I know nothing about turtles or tortoise, she / he is beautiful in color,
I would say about 12-14" long and about 9-10" wide, the underneath is a very pretty orangy color.
She/he came in about 9pm last week and knocked (thumped) on my door twice (I live in a very small apartment) I was watching tv when I heard it
I opened the door to find this huge turtle on my sidewalk, and because I had no idea where it came from, I took it and put it in my back yard, because there are lots of dogs that runs the streets here, and didn't want the poor stray turtle to be hurt.
I wish I could send you pictures but don't know how to send them. I live in Miami FL

Hello,
      It is really difficult for me to identify the turtle without some pictures. However, from the size of it, I would guess it is an African spurred tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata). Look at the website link below for information and Google some pictures for yourself to see if your turtle looks like a spurred tortoise.
            https://animals.net/sulcata-tortoise/
If it is an African spurred tortoise, it may have escaped from someone and they would be happy to get it back. Keeping an spurred tortoise is difficult at best, especially if you have a small yard. Please read some information, see if you can find the owner, and if you need help figuring out what to do with it, write me back. Please do not release it.
If you can get someone to help you email me some pictures, that would be great.
      Thanks,       Becky


From: Cassandra, Subject: How long will Gopher Tortoise stay in burrow?, Date: June 5, 2020
Greetings, I live in Central Florida. A GT wandered into our yard last weekend. I was excited to see him and more excited when he started digging a burrow.
The burrow is near a fence and I hung up a camera so I could watch him.
He came out last Tuesday and I think he went right back in quickly so the camera didn't have time to reset to see him go in (if that makes sense to you).
Anyway, I've been waiting to see him again and he has not come out. It's been 10 days. My question to you is: Is this possible?
From everything I've read this is the time they are most active and I thought we'd see him come out every day. It's been warm here so maybe he is more comfy underground?
We have a yard full of all kinds of weeds and grasses that would be appealing to him. I was leaving out blueberries and watermelon for him but the crows keep eating it.
I've gotten down on my hands and knees with flashlight trying to see if I can see him. No luck there. Could it be possible he is still in there? How long before he will come out again?
Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to answer. I would truly love to host a GT on our property.
Best regards, Cassandra

Hi Cassandra,
      We know from radiotracking data that in natural situations, each tortoise digs and uses multiple burrows. Sometimes if their habitat is developed and there is not room, they might only use one burrow, but that is not typical. My guess is that your tortoise is now staying somewhere else nearby, and will likely return sometime. The use of your particular burrow may depend on temperature, rainfall, season, or any number of other variables.
      Keep your eyes open and he hopefully will return. Feel free to write back if you have other questions.
            Becky


From: Jennifer, Subject: Big guy gopher turtle, Date: June 4, 2020
We had a big gopher turtle he has his burrow under a big oak tree he has been around at least 3years.We just had some tree work. Done and they were working around his hole and I haven't seen him now for two days He is always out on his porch in the am and evening he can get out of the yard but he always seems to stay in and eat in the yard will he come back or is his gone for good

I can't say for sure, but he is probably hiding out inside the burrow. If not, he likely will return when he feels like the coast is clear.
            Becky


From: vicki, Subject: gopher tortoise found alive but wont move, Date: June 4, 2020
WE saw a gopher tortoise last night on the golf cart trail it was raining he wasnt moving this morning he was still there had not moved. I drove by and thought he was gone at about 3pm later at 6:30 we walked back there and saw him a foot off the gold cart path asleep but not moving, he will open eyes, we have called the local rescue, but they have not called back we are worried about him. nothing looks wrong he has some crusty white around his mouth, he seems very weak. he will move his arms a little.
Hope you might have some advice,
Thanks, Vicki

Lots of people have been writing me and saying that they are seeing tortoises sitting outside their burrows for days, even weeks, at a time. I am not sure why this is happening, but it may have to do with temperature, humidity, or all of the rain we have been getting.
      If you feel like the tortoise is ill, you could take it to a wildlife rehabilitator to be checked. Otherwise, I would let it be.
Feel free to write me back if you have other questions or concerns.
            Becky


From: Wendy, Subject: Restless Gopher Tortoise- Seminole County, FL, Date: June 4, 2020
Hello,
We have a gopher tortoise who has made our fenced backyard her home for the past couple of years, actually she was here when we purchased the house and we're not sure how long she's been here. She has began to act strangely staying out of her hole and parking herself in the corner of the yard by the fence gate. She seems like she wants to get out of the yard but we can't leave the fence gate open for her because we have dogs and a pool. I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to leave her trapped if she's ready to relocate but don't want to let her out with no way back to her burrow either. Have you seen or heard of this kind of behavior before?
Thank you, I look forward to your insight and response. 

I have had several people over the last couple of weeks tell me that they have been seeing tortoises sitting outside the burrow for days, even weeks, at a time. Maybe it has something to do with temperature or humidity, or all of the rain we have been getting. I really don't know.
      If your fence does not penetrate beneath the ground, if the tortoise wants out, she will dig out. I would keep an eye on her, but let her be. If she stops eating or otherwise looks ill, write me back, or take her to a wildlife rehabilitator in your area.
      Thank you,       Becky


From: Lisa, Subject: {limbs over hole}, Date: June 4, 2020
If someone puts limbs over a gophers holes does it kill them

In most cases, a gopher tortoise can dig out or around. Feel free to send me some pictures and I might be able to tell you more.
            Becky


From: Cynthia Beaver, Subject: Gopher turtle in backyard, Date: June 3, 2020
There is a really big turtle in my backyard. It has a red mark on his shell.
Right now he's just walking around. I understand we shud do nothing, just checking that's the correct path. 

If it's just walking around your yard and can get out on its own, just let it be. If the turtle is still there, send me some pictures, please.
            Becky


From: Christina, Subject: New to Gopher Tortoises {in same spot}, Date: May 31, 2020
Good Morning
Yesterday evening when we went to take our dogs out we noticed a gopher tortoise up against our back porch. We have not touched it or bothered it in any way and are not exactly sure when it appeared yesterday other than sometime between 12-5pm. This morning we got up and it is still in the same spot. It will move its head in and out and wiggle its legs a bit. We just want to make sure it is normal for there to be no other movement for such a long time. There is a little shade from our roof. Is there anything else we should look for before reporting it as sick?

If the tortoise is still there, please take it to a wildlife rehabilitator. If you need help finding one, please write me back.
            Becky


From: Cynthia, Subject: new gopher turtle eggs, Date: May 31, 2020
this morning while walking my older dog I came across a gopher turtle, when I attempted to move it, to protect it from my younger dogs, I saw that it had laid at least three (3) eggs right next to my front fence. I have blocked off for now but I'm not sure what to do next. Should I build a cage around the nest?
Cynthia

Hi Cynthia,
      When a tortoise lays eggs, it typically digs a 6 ­ 8 inch hole and buries the eggs in it. If she laid the eggs on the ground, they probably weren't fertile anyway and she just shed them. Just let them be and somebody will probably come along and eat them, which is ok.
            Becky


From: Cynthia, Subject: Gopher turtle in backyard, Date: May 31, 2020
There is a really big turtle in my backyard. It has a red mark on his shell.
Right now he's just walking around. I understand we shud do nothing, just checking that's the correct path. 

If it's just walking around your yard and can get out on its own, just let it be. If the turtle is still there, send me some pictures, please.
            Becky


From: katielee87, Subject: Sleepy Gopher Tortoise, Date: May 29, 2020
Hello,
For the past three weeks or so I've had a tortoise traveling back and forth between my yard and my neighbors yard. Originally, I thought it was lingering to eat fallen surinam cherries, but it's stayed in my yard for about 4 or 5 days now and hasn't moved hardly at all. In fact, it's huddled up in a corner where my house meets the fence to the back yard. I check on it usually when I get home from work around 5:30-6 and it almost always has it's eyes closed. I don't see any signs of injury and I also don't see a burrow anywhere. Is this normal? Also, it's been raining very hard lately and the tortoise is right next to a gutter drain. What should I do?
Thank you for your help, Kate

Dear Kate,
      TIs the tortoise still there? If so, please take some pictures of it and email them to me. That behavior sounds unusual and I want to make sure it's a gopher tortoise.
      Thanks,       Becky


From: Chris, Subject: Help identifying baby found in yard, Date: May 28, 2020
Found this little guy Hello,
We found this baby in our yard this evening and were wondering what if you knew what it might be?
Thanks!

It's hard for me to tell how big it is from the picture, but I think it is an adult striped mud turtle (Kinosternon baurii).
            Becky


From: Nancy, Subject: Baby gopher turtle, Date: May 28, 2020
We have a baby gopher turtle has made a home in my front flower bed. The problem is the fire ants are all over the den now. What can I do to get rid of the ants? Don't want them to hurt the turtle. The turtle is only about 4" long he's a little guy.

Hi,
      The trick to dealing with fire ants around a tortoise is killing them and not hurting it. Avoid using "bait" to attract the ants because it might also attract the tortoise. In order to totally get rid of the ants (and the mound), you have to kill the queen. This link (https://www.hunker.com/13406163/home-remedies-to-get-rid-of-fire-ants) has some good suggestions; you can decide what might work best given your resources and specific situation. Look over these and write me back if you have questions. Also please let me know what works and what doesn't so I can be smarter next time somebody asks.
      Thanks,       Becky


From: Thomas, Subject: {egg size}, Date: May 27, 2020
How big are their eggs

About the size of a ping pong ball.


From: Stacy, Subject: Eggs in my yard, Date: May 26, 2020, Hi,
Today a gopher tortoise dug a hole next to my garden. I didn't know why, and I filled the hole back in.
Then the turtle walked a few steps and stopped, eggs started coming out and I knew I had inadvertently filled in the hole where they were supposed to go. I was so sorry & I tried to dig another under where they were coming out. I was able to but I don't think it was as deep.
Should I cover them with more soil or leave them alone. It's very sandy soil & im afraid they aren't deep enough.
How deep should they be?
I'm going to call FWC tomorrow but as we're in the "Corona-pandemic", I want to protect the eggs as best I can.
Thank you for info Stacy Jo

Hi Stacy Jo,
      The typical tortoise nest hole is 6 ­ 8 inches deep. Unless the FWC person tells you differently, I would not disturb the eggs to make the nest deeper (reptile eggs are not like bird eggs that need to be turned). Just cover them, loosely pack the soil, wish them luck, and leave them be. If you have dogs and/or cats, try to keep them away from the area. The egg incubation period is 80 ­ 110 days, depending on where you are located. If the nest doesn't make it and the eggs don't hatch, the tortoise has multiple opportunities to try again.
      You accidently made a mistake and it's ok. Thanks for caring. Feel free to write back if you have more questions.
            Becky


From: Master Shake, Subject: Most likely to be in their burrows?, Date: May 25, 2020
Hello I've gota looming tree over my house being threatened by the dang kudzu . I need to do a lot of clearing but there are a number of baby tortioses near by due to a new tortoise habitat next door. Is there a time of day when they are more likely to be in their burrows? I want to make sure I dont crunch them with the mower. Brush too thick to see through

Tortoises are typically in their burrows at night, but that is not a great time for yard work. This time of year, the middle of the day is pretty safe because it so hot. Avoid the mid-morning and late afternoon/evening. However, whenever you do it, be really careful because baby tortoises don't always dig burrows and will use vegetation or other debris as a den site.
      Do the best you can. I am definitely not a kudzu fan and wish you luck!
            Becky


From: J B, Subject: Baby gophers tortoise, Date: May 24, 2020
Hello,
We live in Hernando county Florida.
Twice our cat has brought baby tortoise home. They were not injured and we put them in the woods . We are not sure which burrow they came from. What should we do going forward? Will they be safe at a burrow of any adult ?
Thank you. Janice

Hi Janice,
      Please try to convince your cat to leave the tortoises (and other wildlife) alone. I know that is easier said than done, and the best solution is to keep the cat inside. However, you can release the baby tortoises as close to where they came from and any adult burrow will be fine.
      Thank you,       Becky


From: CRYSTAL, Subject: Not sure if I have a Gopher Tortoise, Date: May 21, 2020
small pet turtle I just took in a small tortoise whose owner passed away. I know nothing about it. I have rescued box turtles and snapping turtles, but this guy is very different.

Hi,
      Do you know where the previous owner got the tortoise? I am pretty sure it is an African spurred tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata; the genus name recently changed from Geochelone). They are an exotic species native to Africa, but are often sold in pet stores in the U.S. If you are considering keeping it, please do your research. It is the 3rd largest tortoise species in the world, needs a fair amount of room to be healthy, and digs huge holes. Keeping one is not for the faint-hearted or unprepared. Also, depending on how old you are, it might potentially outlive you. I have attached a link to a website with information.
      http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Tortoise-Care/Keeping-the-African-Spurred-Tortoise/
      If you decide not to keep it, please do not release it. Try to fine a zoo, nature center, reptile rescue, or private reptile enthusiast (that knows what they are getting into) to take it. If you just let it go, it will likely die, or it will use resources that our native wildlife need.
      Let me know if you have questions or if I can help.
            Becky


From: Charlyne, Subject: Gopher tortoise {invading burrows}, Date: May 19, 2020
We have a few gopher tortoises in our yard. It is common for one tortoise to invade the burrow of another? The tortoise quickly pushed the invader out. Do they actually fight for burrows?

Hello,
      Gopher tortoises dig several burrows of their own and will also use other tortoise's burrows. It is not unusual to have more than one tortoise in a burrow at once and that appears to be ok with them sometimes. Other times, the "owner" or whoever is bigger will kick the other one out. One time, I was using a burrow camera and found three juvenile tortoises in one burrow.
      If there's something I've learned about tortoises after all of these years, it's that they aren't good about following our rules.
      Feel free to write back if you have more questions.
            Becky


From: Vincent, Subject: Unusual turtle color, Date: May 19, 2020
box turtle My daughter helped this one across the road. Probably a box turtle but the coloring is unique. Reminded me of gopher turtles from South Georgia. We are in Douglas County Georgia.
What your assessment?
Vincent

Hi Vincent,
      It is a juvenile box turtle. If you Google it, you will find that some of the box turtles are brown when they are young, especially ones up in your area. You can tell it's not an adult yet by the size.
Thank your daughter for helping!
      Feel free to write back if you have more questions.
            Becky


From: Kimberly, Subject: Flagged burrows on Fl turnpike, Date: May 18, 2020
Hello
I drive the turnpike daily. There is a part that was cut through a sand hill near where Lake County becomes Orange County. Newer developments on either side of the cut have resulted in many tortoises relocating to the embankment that faces the turnpike. Recently, these burrows have been orange flagged.
With all the new development going on around Minneola, the turnpike will need to be widened. These tortoises are doomed where they are. Are these burrows marked for research, removal, or construction?
Thank you

I suggest you contact your regional office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (https://myfwc.com/about/inside-fwc/ne/). They will know if a permit has been issued for the tortoises to be relocated because of construction or any other reason.
      Feel free to contact me if you don't get any answers or have other questions. Thanks for caring.
            Becky


From: Deal, Subject: Nest in my yard, Date: May 17, 2020
nest in my yard Yes a nest in my yard. Wesley Chapel Pasco County Fl
What and how should I protect and help keep the nest safe?

That is so cool! The biggest danger is from animals that can dig up the nest. Please stay away from the nest area because your scent might attract predators (raccoons, dogs, cats, etc.). Make sure your pets or other dogs and cats stay away. That really is about all you can do. The incubation time for the eggs is between 80 and 110 days; your time will be more toward the short end because you are in central Florida. Keep your eyes open and you might get lucky enough to see some kids hatch! However, don't be too disappointed if the nest get depredated regardless of your efforts ­ most nests do.
      Keep me posted!       Becky


From: Violetmarie, Date: May 17, 2020, Subject: How can I move it from under my house?
I have a large one living under my house. It comes out periodically but is going to create a problem because it is undermining the concrete slab under my step deck.
Thanks for any help you can provide. I live in Leesburg FL
Vi

Hello Vi,
      Gopher tortoises often dig burrows against or under structures. I think it is because the dirt is already soft there and makes for easy digging. Typically, as soon as the tortoise hits concrete, it ends the burrow there or takes a turn. Structural damage is rare. However, if you feel like the tortoise needs to be relocated, contact your regional office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (https://myfwc.com/about/inside-fwc/ne/). You can apply for a permit to legally relocate the tortoise.
            Becky


From: Joyce, Subject: Relocation, Date: May 16, 2020
I found a gopher tortoise in a busy hwy. so I took it to a large nature park.I know you're not supposed to but I would never pass any animal in the highway to let it get killed.Someone said that they will leave the new location and try to find their way home.Is that true? What is the correct way since the officials do nothing?

Followup email at 6:15pm:
Hernando, Florida
I found one in a busy hwy & took it to a large nature conservancy.Theres no way Id leave any animal in a hwy to suffer & die.Someone said they always try to get back to their original home. Is that true? How do the experts do it? Thank you,Joyce in Central Florida 

Gopher tortoises are not particularly intelligent and live by instinct. They will usually try to find their way home, which is one of the reasons that picking a tortoise up and taking it somewhere is illegal. Other reasons are that diseases could be introduced into the population where the tortoise is released, the pecking order of the population where the tortoise is released can be disrupted, and a new mouth to be fed can stress the amount of food resources. You are right in saying that officials frequently do nothing; that often is the best thing to do. Moving a tortoise without the restrictions that accompany getting a permit may save that one animal, but it doesn't help save the species. Nobody wants to see a squashed tortoise, but the long-term implications are worse.
      If/when you see another tortoise crossing the road, please move it out of harm's way to the side of the road, pat it on its head, wish it luck, and go on your way.
      Thanks,       Becky


From: Jay, Subject: Exposed eggs, Date: May 13, 2020
Today, I found my resident gopher tortoise laying eggs in my back yard. A very cool thing to witness. Well, after watching for a little while, I went out for the day and when I came back and checked out the nest, I found that she hadn't covered them very well. I'm wondering if it's okay for me to cover the exposed eggs with about an inch of sandy soil. I'm afraid the local raccoons who frequent my yard will find them.
Is it legal for me to cover them over to try and hide them?
I really don't think putting chicken wire round them will deter the raccoons. When they see something edible they want, they are very determined animals.
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Jay

Hi Jay,
      Typically when a tortoise lays eggs, they dig a hole 6 ­ 8 inches deep, deposit the eggs, and then cover the hole. If the tortoise lays the eggs on top of the ground, it is probably because she is young and new at the nesting process or the eggs are infertile. It doesn't hurt to cover them (I could be wrong!), but they aren't likely going to hatch.
      Feel free to write back!
            Becky


From: Robbie, Subject: Tortoise near my house, Date: May 11, 2020
Florida softshell turtle We saw a large tortoise facing away from the road with a mound of dirt in front of her. We live in Punta Gorda FL.
Do the gopher tortoise lay their eggs inside their burrow and stay in there or just dig a nest and bury the eggs elsewhere?
The next day I walked closer towards the nest and when I was 2 steps away from it I heard thumping underground at the opening. I left didn't want to scare her.
Is she warning a would be predator off or just living in the burrow?
This is an open field between our road and the mango grove, then the open gulf.
Half mile down a new home is being built so I assume eventually this field will get developed. :((
Does someone need to be notified where the nest is so we can try to protect ?
Also saw another mound near a utility pole near our area and wondered if that needs to be marked. It was definitely a nest.
Today I stopped and urged a gopher tortoise across and off the road and into the woods the way he was headed. He was very small and young, about 1 yr. hope he makes it!!!
Thank you!! Robbie

Hi Robbie,
      Gopher tortoises dig long (typically 10 ­ 15 ft) burrows at an angle into the ground. This is where they spend the vast majority of their time. The mound of dirt in front of the burrow (the apron) is what they removed in the digging process. Usually, each tortoise has several burrows that it uses within its home range.
      When they lay eggs, the female digs a small hole around 6 inches deep straight down. She lays the eggs in the hole and then fills it in with dirt. Often the nest cavity is in the apron, but not always.
      The thumping you heard from inside the burrow as you approached probably was a "warning". Tortoises often bob their heads at each other when they think they are being intruded upon.
      You can report your burrow findings to your regional office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (https://myfwc.com/about/inside-fwc/sw/). Make sure you contact them if you see signs of development. The developer is required to relocated tortoises before land clearing, but that doesn't always happen unless someone like you is paying attention.
      Feel free to write back if you have more questions.
            Becky
From: Chelsea, Subject: Gopher tortoise moved in, Date: May 9, 2020
Just a few days ago my father in law noticed a hole that he thought a rabbit had dug, (jokes on him, they build nests in the grass and undergrowth lol)...turned out to be a gopher tortoise. Like I said, He or she had only been here a few days, I believe is female but not positive. If it's a female is she digging a new burrow in the perfect sandy spot to lay eggs at this time of year?
Also I know we can't touch it or anything but am I allowed to just throw a few veggie and fruit scaps to it here and there?
Thanks. Chelsea

Hi Chelsea,
      Was the hole a long, angled hole into the ground or a short (6-8 inches) hole dug straight down? You can email some pictures if you would like. A long burrow is where the adult tortoise would live, but the short hole would be where a female would potentially lay eggs.
      It is illegal to throw food out for tortoises, and it's really not good for them. They have fairly complex dietary needs and eating "people food" is like eating junk food. I have attached a chapter from a workbook that a friend of mine wrote several years ago that you might find interesting. It is copyrighted material, so use it for your own education only, please.
      Feel free to write back if you have more questions.
            Becky


From: David, Subject: Is this a Gopher Tortoise?, Date: May 9, 2020
Hi- I picked up your email from the NBBD page. I saw this fellow on a golf course in Naples. He was at least 20 inches long. Is he a Gopher?
Thank you. D.

Hello,
      No, that's a Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox) . They are aquatic and are especially fond of ditches and ponds. I hope you didn't try to pick it up because they have really long necks and like to bite!
            Becky

May 11, 2020
Thank you very much!! I reconsidered this and figured it was not a gopher. And I appreciate your advice. I'm not a native Floridian and have never seen a turtle of this size; I kept my distance!
David


From: heidi, Subject: Where are the eggs burried, Date: May 8, 2020
LaBelle, FL- plenty (15+) tortoises on 10acre park. (Can send pic- they are out every day). Question: do they burry the eggs in the sand in front/on the side of their burrows? If so, don't they expose them when they go in+out? I've only seen 2 exposed eggs in front of one burrow a few weeks ago. Thank you for your time

Hello,
      Gopher tortoises typically dig a 6-8 inch hole straight down, lay the eggs in it, and then cover them up with dirt/sand. Very often they dig the hole in the apron of a burrow (the sand mound of dirt that results from digging the burrow), but the eggs are buried deep enough that the tortoise going in and out of the burrow doesn't disturb them. Eggs laying on top of the ground usually aren't good. They were either dug up from a nest by a predator or the eggs weren't fertile in the first place and the female just shed them.
      Feel free to write back if you have other questions.
            Becky


From: Food Guru, Subject: Neighbors are feeding gopher turtles, Date: May 3, 2020
I just recently bought a house and have learned my neighbors are feeding the gopher turtles and they are now nesting on my property close to the neighbors food source. It appears I cannot cut invasive non-native brush or trees on my property line to be able to access that section due to the turtles inhabiting that area now due to being fed. What are my options to be able to clean up my property line when there are turtles inhabiting that area due to feeding? Thanks

What state and county do you live in?
            M. Rebecca Bolt


From: Raven, Subject: {baby with mother:}, Date: April 30, 2020
How long do baby gopher turtles live in the same hole with there mom until leaving.

When gopher tortoise hatchlings come out of the nest chamber, they do not stay with the mom or any of their siblings. They immediately start eating and when it's time to go in for the night, they will either go into an adult burrow (which may or may not be their mom's), dig their own little burrow, find another hole dug by something else, or just hide out under vegetation or other debris on the ground. There is no parental care in gopher tortoises. Once the eggs are laid in the egg chamber ( a 6 - 8 inch hole in the ground), the eggs and eventually the kids are on their own.
If you have other questions, write me back.
Becky

From: Raven, Date: April 30, 2020
Thx but how long after being born do they stay in there hole

As soon as they hatch, they dig out of the hole and start looking for food.
            Becky


From: losamchow96, Subject: Found random egg, Date: April 25, 2020
egg alone outside burrow Hi there! I found this random egg sitting next to the gopher turtle hole in my yard. I feel horrible because it is sitting out in the open. Is there anything I can do? Get it to the point where it hatches? Or is this a turtles way of pushing out an egg that has no good? Anything you can tell me would be great! I would love to help, and certainly don't want another animal to eat the egg as I live where there are lots of opossum and raccoons.

Hi,
      There are a couple of possibilities. Something may have already dug up a nest and pulled the egg out. That is not too likely because the egg isn't cracked or broken. It makes more sense that the egg is not fertile and the tortoise just shed it instead of putting it into a nest of good eggs. I would just leave it alone and let it be somebody's meal. Feel free to write back if you have other questions or concerns.
            Becky


From: Kristen, Subject: Wet area with Gopher Eggs, Date: April 24, 2020
Hi, We had a gopher lay eggs in our front flower bed.. we aren't sure how many. This area gets very flood with rain and has a drain that drains roof water. Should we relocate or will the eggs be ok? We are looking forward to baby turtles!
Thanks Kristen,

Hi Kristen,
      The best (and legal) thing to do is leave them where they are. The tortoise picked that spot because of the soil, sunlight, and elevation. If you can somehow divert the rain coming out of the roof drain, you could do that; she had no way of knowing about a drain.
      To be quite honest, the eggs might not hatch. Many of the nests don't and it's natural and normal. Just do what you can and if this nest doesn't make it, she will dig another one later. Keep your eyes open!
      Feel free to write back if you have more questions.
            Becky


From: Lisa, Subject: Sick or dead tortiois, Date: April 29, 2020
Last night around dusk, I saw a large gopher tortoise under a bush right by my sidewalk outside the front door. His head is out but he isn't moving much. I thought he was dead but when I got close his one front leg moved. I looked out the door this morning and his is in the exact same position. Wouldn't a tortoise sleep with his head tucked in? I think he is dead. What do I do? Who do I call? (I live in Englewood/Charlotte County).
Thank you, Lisa

Hi Lisa,
      If the tortoise is still sitting there after it warms up a bit today, I would contact the Peace River Wildlife Center (https://prwildlife.org/). Another option would be your county animal control, but they may not be willing to help if they only do dogs and cats.
      Let me know what happens or if you need other options.
            Becky


From: Donna, Subject: Where are they?, Date: April 19, 2020
Have had a home on ocean, ponte vedra beach Florida for a few years.
Big joy has been seeing turtles in dunes below.
Four, six, twenty who knows. All look about same to me.
So far this year, not one.
Are they gone? Hibernating beyond usual?
Know exact spots where they feed, sun.
Look each day.
None.
We have had warm, sunny days which I think they like.
Appreciate input, thanks, Donna

Hi Donna,
Not sure what to tell you; there could be a number of reasons that you are not seeing the tortoises. The habitat may have changed and there is not enough food, the tide may be coming in further and flooding their burrows, a disease could have killed them, etc. Do you see burrows? Do the burrows look like anything is using them?
I know this probably isn't much help. Just keep your eyes open and, hopefully, the tortoises will be back.
            Becky

April 22, 2020
Tks so much for response.
Missing my buds!
Beach eroding. Maybe that's the problem.
Always loved seeing them, (how many?), and knew where to look.
Stay safe, be well


From: Gary, Subject: Direction of entry to burrow, Date: April 19, 2020
I see them exit forward but have not seen them enter their hole. Do they go in backwards or turn around inside?
D. Ellison

Hi,
      They go into the burrow head first and turn around in the chamber at the bottom. Gopher tortoises do not do reverse well.:-)
            Becky

April 22, 2020 Thank you. I bicycle on rails to trails where I've seen many and always wondered.
Debbie Ellison


From: Sandy, Subject: Tortoise on back, Date: April 18, 2020
I know that it is not natural for a gopher tortoise to be on it's back. I found one that way today. I have no idea how long he has been like that was since I have not been on that part of the property for some time. It appeared to move a slight bit. I had my dog with me so I came back to the house hoping that the tortoise is ok and is able to go on it's way soon. Please advise on what I should do to help the tortoise if that is not the case.
Thank you, Sandy

Sandy,
      When tortoises fight, they often try to flip each other over onto their backs. It is not good for a tortoise to be on its back for too long if it is exposed to the direct sun and heat. They can often right themselves and be ok, but not always.       Please go back to where the tortoise was and see if it is still there. If it is and is alive, flip it over and put it in the shade. If it is alive, but in bad shape, you could take it to a wildlife rehabilitator or hospital.
      Thank you,       Becky


From: John, Subject: Best time to spot a gopher turtle, Date: April 13, 2020

There is a gopher turtle hole near us but we have only seen it one time. When we go with our cameras, we never see it. What is the best time to spot a gopher turtle. The one time we saw it was just before sunset.

Seeing a tortoise is more of a temperature thing that a time-of-day thing. They are active when it's more than 70 degrees F, but will stay in their burrows when it is too hot (85+). This time of year in central Florida, I am seeing them at the mouths of the burrows around 10 a.m. and out running around in the late afternoon (4 - 5).
            Becky


From: lance, Subject: Inbreeding, Date: April 11, 2020
Hello, are there any studies on isolated populations inbreeding? I live in a old neighborhood in West Melbourne and are located on and near about 5 acres of undeveloped land, mainly woods so not great tortoise habitat. I have 4 adults, 1 who is 5 or 6, and now 2 yearlings living in my neighbor and I's property and we have all known the big female and a male with a cracked shell for 20 years now and the other two adults for at least ten.
My concern is potential inbreeding because these tortoises are isolated from the Melbourne village population by Wickham road. There is also a isolated population behind sylvan estates on the crane creek(should be called a canal) easement. So if your looking at google earth I live on lemon grove. I love the tortoises and we all have our dogs trained to not bug them but it is a concern we have with the sub adult mating with his mother in a few years. He was born in my yard and I watched big bertha and crackshell do the dirty. Yes we have named them. Any insight would be appreciative.

Hi,
      I don't have first-hand knowledge of research conducted on inbreeding in small, isolated wild tortoise populations. My quick search on the internet found that there is significant concern about inbreeding in captive tortoises that are being sold as pets. It makes sense that, over time, a population like what you describe could experience the issues associated with inbreeding and it would be one of the factors that would eventually lead to the population dying out.
      Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer for this problem for gopher tortoises. If the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had a program set up, they might take these small populations and put them in suitable habitat together. That would be good for the species, but many people who enjoy "their tortoises" would lose out. As things stand now, we are depending on the large, protected populations to sustain the species.
      Feel free to write back if you have other questions.
            Becky


From: Jennifer, Subject: Gopher Tortoise {bobbing}, Date: April 11, 2020
Hi,
I have a unusual question we came across a female gopher tortoise that actually started followng us sticking her head out and stretching her neck too bobbing both up and down? What on earth did that mean? She kept following us doing this on a trail. Can you please explain why and what it meant?
Thank you so very much!
Jennifer
We were in Brevard county Florida.

Chasing and head bobbing are aggressive behaviors in gopher tortoises. They typically do it to each other, but you must have made her feel threatened for some reason. It's nesting season, so maybe she had a nest with eggs nearby.
      Just my guess because I gave up trying to figure how they think a long time ago! ??
            Becky


From: Linda, Subject: Baby gopher tortoise {in sun}, Date: April 2, 2020
Fort McCoy Florida USA baby gopher turtle tortoise digging a fresh hole in the direct sun in my Sun, should it have its home in the hot sun like that? the direct sun.

If it decides that the spot is too hot for its burrow, it will dig a new one elsewhere. They are pretty smart like that. Besides, the temperature inside the burrow is much cooler than the temperature outside.
      Write back if you have other questions or concerns.
            Becky


From: joyrab56, Subject: I found a small gopher tortoise in my yard. He is missing a front claw. What can I do with him?, Date: March 23, 2020

The best (and legal) thing to do is let it be. If it is strong and healthy, it will survive. If it is not, it will provide food for another animal. Both scenarios are ok.
      Thanks,       Becky


From: Bryan, Subject: Tortoise just showed up, Date: March 19, 2020
African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) Hello, My name is Bryan and yesterday we came home and found this tortoise just hanging out on our back patio. We live in a pretty residential area and our yard isn't very big. We don't mind him/her hanging out just want to make sure it has what it needs (water, food, area). It doesn't seem to be injured, it moved around a little to stay in the sun yesterday. Just wondering what we should do? Just let it be? And what kind is it? Do we need to contact anyone?
Clermont, Florida area
Best Regards, Bryan

Hi Bryan,
      It is an African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) that is native to the Sahara, and is the third largest tortoise species in the world. They are popular in the U.S. as pets.
Do you still have the tortoise? It may very well have escaped from its owner (they can dig enormous holes) or its owner may have decided it was too difficult to keep and let it go. You might ask around your neighborhood to see if someone is missing it. Otherwise, I would try to find someone to take it ­ a nature center, zoo, a private citizen that likes turtles, etc. If you should decide to keep it, please research it carefully.
They are a lot of trouble to keep properly, which is why they often get abandoned.
      Please let me know the status or if I can be of assistance.
      Thanks,       Becky

March 23, 2020
Becky,
Thank you for your response.
We weren't planning on keeping it but if it wanted to hang out we would have done everything we could to preserve its health and wellbeing or if it wanted to leave, make sure as it traveled around it would be able to survive. Last thing we want to see is any animal in danger. It decided to leave the day I emailed you and just continued down our back fence line and has not been back. We live in an area with a lot of open space and nature preserves so I hope it will be ok.
We've asked a few people but no luck that it was theirs.
Anyhow, once again thank you for your reply and the helpful info.
      Best Regards,       Bryan


From: Josh, Subject: Relocate, Date: March 11, 2020
Can you recommend someone to relocate a gopher tortoise from my property? Do you have any idea what that might cost?

Hi,
      Go to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission authorized agent locator map (https://public.myfwc.com/maps/gtmapping/gtpermitmap.html). You will need an authorized agent to do the relocation. I don't know how much it will cost.
      Write back if you have other questions or trouble finding someone.
            Becky


From: "Joseph, Subject: gopher Tortoise, looking for a solution that everyone can be happy., Date: March 6, 2020
My husband and I are selling our home we have lived in for over 50 years. We had a good offering within one day after it was put on the market. Everyone understood our yard had been home for a large gopher turtle for a number of years. His or Her burrow was several feet away from our vinyl liner swimming pool. But we never had any problem and after exploring all the difficulties of removing her or him we lived together very happy. Two days before the inspection we had a new salt water system put in and was told by the pool company the tortoise had caused a large dent in the only year old liner and had. dug under our pool. To make sure he is safe and drain the pool estimate 1,000-1,200 which we could offer, but only a temporary solution. Staying in the home is no option, we have already moved, husband 90 and I am 85, we have to down size. Destroying his home is no lasting solution and I am having difficulty thinking about doing this. Do you have any suggestions.       Thanks       JJ

A "dent" in the liner probably means the tortoise was digging, ran into the liner and shifted the course of the burrow. Is the pool leaking? If not, things should be fine even if the tortoise's burrow is below the pool. Don't let the pool company folks talk you into anything crazy.
      Feel free to write me back if you have more questions. Good luck and enjoy your new place!
            Becky


From: Michael, Subject: Gopher Tortoise facing down into hole, Date: March 4, 2020
We have a gopher tortoise near our office that often sits on the edge of her hole and faces out. Over the last few days however, she sits at the edge of her hole with her head facing back down into the hole. Any idea why she would do this?
Michael

Hi Michael,
      Tortoises often sit in the mouth of the burrow backwards or sideways. I have no idea why. It may be trying to keep another tortoise from intruding or it may have something to do with thermoregulation. Is it still sitting like that? Has it been going down into its burrow later in the day?
            Becky


From: Bette, Subject: How many entrances in a gopher tortoise nest?, Date: February 22, 2020

Only one way in/out with room to turn around in the bottom.
      Becky


From: Lisa, Subject: Heartbroken, Date: February 22, 2020
My husband accidentally backed over our gopher tortoise. He's been in our front yard traveling from one burrow to the other for a long time. My husband has been beside himself with guilt and grief. He really loved that tortoise. I'd like to make him feel better. Can I buy another gopher tortoise to stay in our yard? Meaning, would another gopher tortoise go to the same burrows that the deceased one used if I put the tortoise in the same bushes that the deceased tortoise lived in? Thank you for your help!
Sincerely,       Lisa

Hi Lisa,
      I am so sorry about the tortoise. I know how bad your husband must feel because I have accidentally killed a tortoise, too. Unfortunately, it is illegal to buy another one or pick one up from somewhere else and move it to your yard. Besides, you would probably have to confine it in the yard to make it stay, which is illegal as well.
            Becky


From: grace, Subject: Eggs, Date: February 21, 2020
How hardy are the gopher turtle eggs. We are staying at a florida rv resort. Kids run thru the apron sometimes. Will this damage eggs?

The eggs are typically in a cavity 6 -8 inches below the surface. Just running across the apron probably won't do any harm, as long as there's no digging. Write back if you have any more questions.
      Thanks,       Becky


From: Stacie, Subject: Gopher Tortoise Holes, Date: February 19, 2020
My neighbor came over in his loader filled with dirt and filled in a gopher tortoise hole in my backyard. I am so upset over this, will the tortoise dig itself out?

They can usually dig out, but it's hard on them. Sounds like you need to get your neighbor under control. Tell him that damaging tortoise burrows is a federal offense.
            Becky


From: Rochelle, Subject: foods they can eat, Date: February 16, 2020
Hi I am just curious if they can eat the skins or rind of fruits like papaya, mango, and melons? Also in the few food list I have found I don't see any citrus fruits on either list .... Good or Bad? I live in a development where there are several gopher turtle dwellings/holes and many people put food right outside their hole, I have as well but put it further away. I always thought that putting it right next to or on top of that this could attract predators to the turtles home.... What do you think? I have been a vegetarian for years and up north use to compose. However down here in FL iut attracts all sorts of critters. I hate to just throw out so I often go to just wooded areas to throw out compose in the hopes something would eat or it will just return to earth instead of rotting in garbage
I appreciate any feedback. Thanks for all you do. With much appreciation and respect.
Sincerely, Rochelle.

Hi Rochelle,
      The first thing I have to tell you is that feeding gopher tortoises is illegal. Sorry. Besides that, it's really not good for them. They need to be out foraging and getting the different kinds of foods necessary for them to be healthy. Eating "people food" is equivalent to us eating nothing but donuts and French fries.
      I have a composter at my house with a good lid and it is in the far corner of my yard. We haven't had any critter problems. An alternative is one of the new machines that dries the waste food and turns it into a powder that you can use to fertilize your plants or yard. We have one of those at work and it's nice ­ quiet, no smell, and shrinks a bunch of food down to a couple of cups of powder.
Feel free to write back if you have other questions.
      Thanks,       Becky


From: Bet, Subject: Tortoise interest {OK to move},Date: February 16, 2020
Hi Becky
I am staying in Boca Grande for the winter. I'm wondering if it is ok to move tortoises off the road. I am used to doing this at home in Ontario with our turtles. I work with a trauma centre where we pick up injured turtles and bring them for treatment and also taxi them back to where they were found when their injuries are healed

Hi,
      It is ok to move a gopher tortoise out of immediate danger, such as when they are crossing a busy road and are in real danger of being hit. However, it is illegal to move them to a different location.
      Most of all, be careful that you don't become a road mortality yourself.
            Becky


From: Russell, Subject: Gopher tortoise {close burrows?}, Date: January 31, 2020
Do tortoises close the borrows?

No, not if the burrow is being used. If no tortoise or other animal is using it, a burrow will eventually collapse.
               Becky


From: heather, Subject: Busy road, Date: February 2, 2020
Hi Becky , i live in Belleview fl, there is a gopher tortoise in my neighborhood, problem is he/she 's burrow is next to a very busy road. Most of the time he stays close to the burrow, but on beautiful days like today, he crosses that road to forage. Today he was in my yard eating grasses , but seemed a little sluggish. When he was finished I helped him cross the street back to his burrow, but honestly I'm very scared because that road is extremely busy. A few months back I found another tortoise dead in the road, hit by a car . My boyfriend and I put up a sign , but I was wondering if there was more I could do. Thank you so much . 

Hi,
There is not much else you can do that you haven't already done. I love the sign, and moving the tortoise out of the road is fine. Moving it elsewhere is not legal, and not a good idea biologically either, for lots of reasons. I understand that it might very well get hit, and I wish I had more suggestions, but I don't.
        Hoping for the best,         Becky


From: Russell, Subject: Borrows, Date: January 31, 2020
Do tortoises close their borrows from the inside? When do they hatch

Tortoises do not typically lay their eggs inside a burrow, but dig a hole and bury them in the sand in front of the burrow. This sandy space is called the apron. It takes between 80 and 100 days for the eggs to hatch once they are laid.
            Becky


From: Kirstie, Subject: Gopher Relocation, Date: January 29, 2020
Hello,
We are about to begin construction on our new home & our surveyor has found ten boroughs. What is the first step to relocate them? We are building in Odessa, FL.
Thank you for your time & help,       Kirstie

Hi Kristie,
      Go to this Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website (https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/gopher-tortoise/) and it will lead you through the process.
      Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.
            Becky


From: Jim, Subject: Eggs, Date: January 28, 2020
Does the female come back to the nest for the eggs

The nest is typically in the sand in front of a burrow, so the female may come back to that burrow. However, she doesn't come back to do anything with or for the eggs or hatchlings.
            Becky


From: 9542343909 (Follow-Up) Subject: {Moved a GT}, Sent: January 21, 2020
I feel terrible l released it in a quiet park near where l work. Thinking it was a gropher tortoise. I went back to try to find it..no luck. I'll keep looking. Hope it will do okay. It sure was cute. Thank you

Just keep your eyes open and grab it if you get a chance.
      Thanks,       Becky

From: 9542343909
Thank you for your care and concern. Hope l can find the little guy soon!


hatchling/juvenile African spurred tortoise From: 9542343909, Subject: {Is this a GT?}, Date: January 16, 2020
Is this a gropher tortoise? Found At my work in Hollywood fl. Broward county. It was running around near ac unit. Thank you.

It looks like a hatchling/juvenile African spurred tortoise. They are not native here. It likely came from a pet store and was either released or escaped. You might check around the area and see if someone claims it, but otherwise, I would try to find a pet store or herp club member to take it. It will grow like crazy quickly. They are the 3rd largest tortoise species in the world and dig gigantic holes to rest in. Not a great pet unless you are prepared for it and have the appropriate facilities.
      Write me back if you need help figuring out what to do with it.
            Becky


From: Jerry, Subject: Resident tortoise won't go in it's burrow, Date: January 13, 2020
Gopher tortoise settled outside the burrow. Hi there.
We've been here in Homosassa for 3 years with one of the larger guys on our property. Last couple days he's been acting odd, more so than just seeing him out right now. He's was hanging out with my cat under our truck yesterday and realized just this afternoon that he's not going down into his hole, I found him sleeping with neck stretched out, about a foot outside the entrance. I just went and checked on him, and mind you it's dark out...he was sideways in the mouth of the hole, sleeping.
The neighbor's dog was sticking his nose in the hole a few days ago, so not sure if that had anything to do with it...but I'm wondering why he's acting like this. I'm attaching some pics.

Hi,
      That behavior does seem odd, especially this time of year. Could there be another tortoise that has gone into the burrow and is keeping it out? I doubt the dog visit is the problem unless it collapsed the front of the burrow and the tortoise hasn't bothered to dig it back out. What have your overnight temperatures been like? If they are less than 55 degrees and it's still sitting out consistently, you might consider taking it to a wildlife rehabilitator. However, something might be going on that is fine and natural that we don't see or understand, or it could just be old.
      Let me know what you think and keep me posted.
      Thanks,       Becky


Burrow close to street & parking. From: David, Subject: parking, Date: January 10, 2020
Hi,
How close can you park near a tortoise burrow? the law says you cannot disturb the burrow within 25 ft. the burrow is only 3ft from the street.
Thanks       Dave

Hi Dave,
      The "do not disturb within 25 feet" refers to digging or impacting the soil around the burrow so that might collapse the tunnel, or trap or crush the tortoise in the burrow. Parking near the burrow is not going to cause a problem, but a nice, well placed sign at the edge of the road telling people to watch for tortoises would be helpful.
            Becky


From: Cynthia, Subject: Someone flagging gopher turtle burrows in the vacant lot next to my house, Date: January 4, 2020
Good Afternoon,
About a week ago my husband heard (2) people in the woods on the vacant lot next to my house. He said he heard them chatting about getting to the burrow and possibly removing it. I did not see these individuals. We have a gopher turtle burrow on the easement between the two properties. This specific burrow has a turtle in it and it has lived here for years, had babies and all, this turtle is thriving just fine. Know this vacant lot has more burrows and its possibly home to other turtles.
On Friday I seen this lady marking more burrows with pink flags. I confronted her and asked her what she was doing. She did not say who she was, she just stated she is marking the burrows for possible relocation if the land gets developed. She was just back out here again today. I have many vacant lots around me and I know these turtles have burrows on them as well, she is not surveying those properties, just the one next to my house.
I live in Port St Lucie, Fl. My only fear is, what if this individual does not have good intentions and I sat back and did nothing about it. I called the Florida Department of Fish & Wildlife and the only thing he said was that pink flags are not common to indicate a burrow however she could be a environmentalist/scientist. This all could be legit but I just want to make sure it is.
Sincerely, Concerned Gopher Turtle Friend

Dear Friend,
      You can go online and see if a gopher tortoise relocation permit has been issued for that piece of property. https://public.myfwc.com/maps/gtmapping/gtpermitmap.html Go to the "Search by Address" section and put in address. It will show you all of the permits in that area. If there is a permit, it will tell you who received it. If there's not, you can talk to the people that come out there and tell them that they have to have a permit and relocate the tortoises before they can develop the property. Also, if there is not a permit, I would take some pictures so that you have evidence in case any clearing happens.
      Feel free to write back if you have other questions.
            Becky

From: Cynthia, Subject: RE Fwd: Someone flagging gopher turtle burrows, Date: January 6, 2020
Thanks for the response. Just so happens when I was on the phone with the Florida Wildlife Department the lady flagging the burrows must have overheard my conversation. When I came back from grocery shopping all the flags were gone. These individuals were up to no good...


From: Theresa, Subject: Gopher Turtle {dog & baby GTs}, Date: January 3, 2020
 I have a momma turtle and baby turtles right in my back yard my dogs keeps bringing me the baby I don't know what to do? He's dug up 2 holes already that the baby or babies have made. It's my home and yard I don't want them injured.
Thank you,       Theresa 

Hi Theresa,
      It's very important that you keep the dog(s) from getting the young turtle. Its shell is probably still soft and it will only be a matter of time before it gets injured. Contact a trainer or Google how to teach your dog(s) to stay away from the turtles. Either that or don't let the dog(s) out in the yard without supervision.
            Becky



 

 


| Gopher Tortoise Homepage | 1998 - 2006 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 |