endangered primates
 
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Jump to a Species >> American River Otters | Florida Panthers | Red Tailed Hawks | American Alligators | American Crocodiles | Gopher Tortoises | Florida Kingsnakes

Gopher Tortoises - Gopherus polyphemus
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Gopher tortoises are so called because of their burrowing habits. They excavate and live in holes and tunnels that can be 40 feet long, and are wide enough to turn around in. Newly hatched tortoises immediately either find an adult burrow or dig one of their own. The tunnels tend to maintain a constant temperature and therefore protect the animals who live there through extremes of weather and fire. The tortoises are not the only inhabitants of their burrow, snakes, skunks, armadillos, burrowing owls, and scarab beetles are among the approx. 360 species of animal known to use the tortoise excavations. Ancient Indians used the Gopher tortoise as a form of currency.

Picture of a Gopher Tortoise
Gopher Tortiose - Gopherus polyphemus

Size:
Body length, 6-9 ½ inches
Life Cycle:
Sexual maturity, Uncertain, somewhere between 15 and 21 years
Life span, 60-80 years in stable environment
Reproduction:
Mating Season: April-June
Number of eggs: 3-15
Incubation: Approx. 80-100 days
Diet:
Low growing vegetation
Predators: Adult tortoises have few natural enemies but eggs and hatchlings are preyed on by raccoons, foxes, skunks, armadillos, and fire antsZ
Social Structure: Mostly solitary except in the breeding season
Territory Size: Unknown
Conservation Status: threatened through much of their range. Keynote species that can indicate the overall well being of an ecosystem


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