Florida Gopher Tortoise Day

Tampa, Fla. (970 WFLA)- Gov. Rick Scott has signed a proclamation extending greetings to all who observe April 10 as Florida Gopher Tortoise Day.  It cites cooperation among many public and private entities, including military bases and private landowners, as vital to conserving gopher tortoises, and says organizations and individuals must continue working together for the long-term survival of the gopher tortoise. His action affirms the state is a stronghold for gopher tortoise conservation among southeastern states, and that it is important for Floridians to understand their role in conserving this iconic species.

Spring days are a good time to spot a gopher tortoise, as Florida’s only native tortoise becomes more active, foraging for food and searching for a mate.   If you see gopher tortoises or their half-moon shaped burrow entrances, it is best to leave them alone. It’s illegal to disturb or harm gopher tortoises, their burrows or their eggs. You can help a gopher tortoise cross a road, by picking it up and placing it on the roadside in the direction it was heading. But only do this if it is safe for you to do so, and don’t put the tortoise in your vehicle! Remember too, the tortoise is a land animal, so never attempt to put it into water.

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