WHAT DOES A GOPHER TORTOISE LOOK LIKE?
The gopher tortoise is a land turtle, usually between 6 and 15 inches long. It is gray or dark brown on top with a yellowish undershell. A tortoise s front legs are strong and shovel-like, great for digging burrows. Its front legs look like elephant s legs. They help it carry its heavy shell. WHERE DO TORTOISES LIVE? Tortoises prefer to live in dry sandy places near woods or grass. They dig underground burrows that are 10 to 50 feet long. These burrows sometimes have more than one tunnel. When the tortoise is not underground in his home, it might be warming up in the sun or looking for food. Tortoises eat grasses and weeds, but can also eat fruits and mushrooms. Many animals make their homes inside tortoise burrows, including snakes, frogs, owls, and mice. The burrows are especially important during forest fires, because they give many animals a safe place to hide. WHY AREN T THERE MANY TORTOISES LEFT? In Florida, the tortoise is a Species of Special Concern. This means that there are