Gopher Tortoises by AuntDot

673 views as of April 6, 2012

These two gopher tortoises were emerging from their (man-made) tunnel at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D, Canln 55-250 lens at 65 mm
Cropped and color warmed in Picasa3

FEATURED in Monochrome in Color, April 6, 2012
FEATURED in Florida the Sunshine State, January 29, 2011

From the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC):
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.
Gopher tortoises are ancient: their ancestors are a species of land tortoise that originated in western North America some 60 million years ago. They are the only tortoise that occurs east of the Mississippi River, in habitats that some refer to as the "southeastern desert.
Gopher tortoises are a threatened wildlife species and are protected by state law (Florida). It is against the law to kill, harass or destroy gopher tortoises, their eggs or burrows.

From Defenders of Wildlife:
Length: Average of 10 inches.
Weight: 29 lbs.
Lifespan: 60 years.
The shell or “carapace” of the gopher tortoise is mostly brownish gray and the underside of the shell, or “plastron,” is yellowish tan. Their front legs are shovel-like which helps them when digging their burrows. As with all turtles, males can be distinguished from females because males have concave plastrons. Male gopher tortoises also have longer tails than females.
Gopher tortoises are one of the few species of tortoise that dig burrows. These 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. In addition to providing the tortoise a home, the burrows are also used by a range of other species including the indigo snake, Florida mouse, gopher frog and burrowing owl.

Having lived most of my life in the northeast U.S., I am enjoying retired life in sunny Florida. I enjoy photographing many different kinds of things, but especially flowers and animals, including the beautiful birds found here in Florida. I am currently using a Canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D camera, a Canon 55-250 mm telescopic zoom lens, and a Sony P10 Cyber-shot digital camera. My newest acquisition is a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS, a point and shoot which I will be carrying in my purse.

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  • sarnia2
    sarnia2about 4 years ago

    JUSTARTabout 4 years ago

    nice shot

  • Thank you, Sylvia.

    – AuntDot

  • Shane Jones
    Shane Jonesabout 4 years ago

  • Angela  Burman
    Angela Burmanabout 4 years ago

    Love this shot Dot. I adore tortoises and you have captured them beautifully

  • Thank you so much, Angela. We have some of them in our neighborhood. You have to be careful when you drive, as sometimes they amble across the road.

    – AuntDot

  • Sherri     Nicholas
    Sherri Nic...about 4 years ago

    Aunt Dot, these are so cute, I love turtles..well heck I love all creatures of God..But we use to have a tortoise ..endanger desert tortoise and we had him for a long time..till somehow got out of the yard. and we really missed him..his name was Al, after the fella that gave it to us.
    Sherri:):) hugssssies..

  • Thank you, Sherri. These are a very protected species here.

    – AuntDot

  • Kathie Nichols
    Kathie Nicholsabout 4 years ago

    They’re beautiful Dot, a great shot! :))

  • Thanks very much, Kathie.

    – AuntDot

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELabout 4 years ago

    Wonderful capture Dot, I can tell by your images that you would have had a great time.

  • I really did, Andrea. I’ve enjoyed being around so many different animals and birds and especially photographing them.

    – AuntDot

  • Linda  Makiej
    Linda Makiejabout 4 years ago

    what a great pair!

  • Thank you, Linda. If you look in the larger view, you can see a third tortoise behind these two.

    – AuntDot

  • Rosalie Scanlon
    Rosalie Scanlonabout 4 years ago

    Excellent capture Dot.

  • Thank so much, Rosie!

    – AuntDot

  • © Pauline Wherrell
    © Pauline Wher...about 4 years ago

    What an amnazing shot – love it!

  • Thank you so much, Pauline. I appreciate that!

    – AuntDot

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