Today Is Florida Gopher Tortoise Day!

Tallahassee, Fla. (970 WFLA)- Today Is Florida Gopher Tortoise Day!   The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is  encouraging communities, organizations and individuals to help conserve this threatened species.

This year, seven counties - Alachua, Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Indian River and Sarasota - and the cities of Cape Coral, Flagler Beach, Melbourne, North Port and Venice are adopting Florida Gopher Tortoise Day resolutions. But anyone can get involved in helping Florida’s gopher tortoises.

During April and May, you may spot one of these gentle, slow-moving reptiles which become more active in spring.   They exit their deep burrows in search of a meal of spring greenery and often to look for a mate. 

Look for tortoises and their half-moon shaped burrow entrances in yards, neighborhoods, along roadways and on many of the state’s private and public lands. 

“If you’re a fan of the gopher tortoise, help us spread the word on conserving this threatened species, whose burrows are home to hundreds of animals, including the eastern indigo snake, gopher frog and Florida mouse,” said Deborah Burr, who heads the FWC’s Gopher Tortoise Management Program.   “If you see a gopher tortoise crossing a road, pick it up and place it on the roadside in the direction it was heading, but only if it is safe for you to do so,” Burr said. “Remember, the gopher tortoise is a land animal, so never put it into water. And don’t forget it is illegal to harm a gopher tortoise, its eggs or its burrow.”

For more information on gopher tortoises and to report a sighting click here !

Photo And Graphic Credit: MyFWC

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