Gopher Tortoise
Gopherus polyphemus - Daudin
Family: Testudinidae (Terrapin)

The Gopher Tortoise is a highland creature. Its shell measures from thumbnail size at birth to 15 inches adult. Look for a carapace (shell) with a high dome; front feet are flat and hind feet are round and stumpy. The head is large, rounded, grayish black. Its preferred habitat is dry, sandy transition zones between grasslands and forests. The gopher tortoise is a vegetarian so its feeding range must consists of grass and leaves within its reach. The gopher tortoise is on the Alabama Threatened Species List, as well as the Federal list. Except for its sharp toenails, the creature is harmless.


Photo courtesy Turtle Point Environmental Science Center


Typical gopher tortoise burrow


Photo courtesy Reid Walker, Crestview, Florida


Photo courtesy Reid Walker, Crestview, Florida


Photo courtesy Pat McArthur, East Brewton, Alabama


Juvenile gopher tortoise - September 15, 2002


Photo courtesy Donna Bell

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