April 10th was officially adopted by the Gopher Tortoise Council as Gopher Tortoise Day! The goal of Gopher Tortoise Day is to increase awareness and appreciation for these long lived, gentle reptiles. You can help celebrate Florida’s only native tortoise by hosting an event in your community, asking your local City or County Commission to officially adopt April 10 as Gopher Tortoise Day, and by educating others on the importance of protecting gopher tortoises.
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 their burrows with more than 350 other species, and are therefore referred to as a keystone species. In Florida, the gopher tortoise is listed as Threatened. Both the tortoise and its burrow are protected under state law. Gopher tortoises must be relocated before any land clearing or development takes place, and property owners must obtain permits from the FWC before capturing and relocating tortoises.