Gopher Tortoise in Tate’s Hell photo by Marylyn Feaver

P1020412“Gopher tortoises are long-lived reptiles that occupy upland habitat throughout Florida including forests, pastures, and yards.   They dig deep burrows for shelter and forage on low-growing plants.   Gopher tortoises share these burrows with more than 350 other species, and are therefore referred to as a keystone species.  Conservation of gopher tortoises depends not only on the efforts of FWC and other conservation groups, but also on Florida’s citizens.  There are many ways to co-exist with these gentle land tortoises…..

In Florida, the gopher tortoise is listed as Threatened.  Both the tortoise and its burrow are protected under state law.  Gopher tortoises must be relocated before any land clearing or development takes place, and property owners must obtain permits from the FWC before capturing and relocating tortoises.  Applications for permits are available on the FWC gopher tortoise online permitting site.  Oneline applications are preferred to facilitate a fast review process.   Before applying for a permit, please review the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines or visit the individual permit webpages by following the links on the right side of your computer screen.”  (From Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site, Gopher Tortoises.”)

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