Fun FACTS about Gopher Tortoises
Tortoise burrows can be up to ten feet deep and 40 feet long, and are as wide as the length of the tortoise that made it.
The gopher tortoise shares its burrow with more than 350 other species, including indigo snakes, Florida mice, gopher frogs, opossums, rabbits, armadillos, lizards, toads and burrowing owls.
The gopher tortoise reaches sexual maturity between 12 and 15 years of age, when their shells are about 9 inches long.
The gopher tortoise egg's are round and about the size of a ping-pong ball. They incubate for about 80-90 days.
The sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature of the sand or dirt where the nest is incubating, if the temperature is above 86° F, the tortoises hatchling will be females. Temperatures below 86° produce males.
The largest part of their diet consists of low-growing grasses and legumes. They also eat gopher apple, prickly pear cactus, paw-paws, blackberries, saw palmetto berries, and other seasonal fruits.
Gopher tortoises will also scavenge and are opportunistic feeders, occasionally feeding on dead animals or excrement.
Most of the water they get comes from the food they eat. During periods of extreme drought they have been seen drinking standing water on the side of the road.
Gopher tortoises can use their front flipper-like legs to dam up water as it runs down their burrow during a rain.
A gopher tortoise may have one to three burrows in it’s home range, the area where it spends most of its time.
The tortoise may travel 2 to 5 miles to forage, staying temporarily in an existing burrow or digging a new burrow. After a period of time, the tortoise may return to its original home range, and even to its original burrow.