Gopher Tortoise

Gopher Tortoise

The Gopher Tortoise 

(Gopherus polyphemus)

The Gopher Tortoise is native to an area in the southeastern US, including the Lake Wales Ridge.  The burrow of this well-named tortoise extends for up to 40  feet, and it can provide shelter for several hundred other species.  The entrances to at least two of these burrows can be seen near the trails at the Ridge Audubon Center, and on occasion a Gopher Tortoise can be seen as well.  Loss of habitat is one of several threats to these animals. Florida state law prohibits destruction of  the animal and its burrow.

Some links to detailed information:

http://myfwc.com/GopherTortoise

https://www.fws.gov/northflorida/gophertortoise/gopher_tortoise_fact_sheet.html