The Gopher Tortoise

Yesterday, outside my screen door, was a gopher tortoise who came to visit. I was fortunate enough to get close to him or her and take a couple of pictures.  Gopher tortoises usually are skittish when humans are close. If they are near their burrow, they will scurry inside. Yes, they can scurry. It's amazing how fast these species can move.

Gopher tortoises are native to the southeast, including central to northern Florida. They prefer sandy terrain for easy digging. Their burrows provide refuge for many other creatures such as mice and even rabbits.

They live on the surrounding grasses, but also enjoy various fruits. My neighbor provides fruit to one of our local gophers. I see berries outside the burrow often when I'm walking.

Gopher tortoises can live up to 80 years, and mature slowly. Humans can be a danger to these lovely creatures. Cars driving over their burrows, herbicides, and densely planted areas can inhibit the sun they so need.

I enjoy the visits from my neighbor, the gopher tortoise. I know the visit is short, and that's ok. I also know I must give him or her the space needed. I used a zoom on my camera to catch these pictures.

When out and about today, I hope you cross path with the beautiful creatures that share our space. Enjoy your day!


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