University of Florida

Gopher Tortoises

Gopher tortoises have been around for millions of years, but are now a threatened species in Florida and several other states. A big issue is that human development keeps encroaching on their native habitats.

Scientists believe that gopher tortoises deserve protection, since they play an important role in many Florida ecosystems. They dig deep burrows that are also used by other animals like indigo snakes, foxes, and burrowing owls. The tortoises also graze on low-growing plants and help spread their seeds.

If you have a gopher tortoise on your property, keep pets or children away from its burrow. Try adding tortoise-friendly plants that it can eat. And finally, avoid mowing, digging, or driving over the ground within twenty-five feet of its burrow.


UF/IFAS Publications

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