The Gohper Tortoise The Tortoise Survery

Mapping

Gopher Tortoise Burrow

To complete the Tortoise survey we went out to a dissected area in the back of the school. Each student stood a distance away from each other and walked in a straight line to pinpoint each burrow.

The Gopher Tortoise

  • Lives on dry sandy land and coastal dunes of the southeastern United States
  • Only Tortoise in the eastern part of the United States
  • The range of where gopher tortoises live is in Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia, with the majority of the population in Florida.

Gopher Tortoise Drawing

Drawn by Gabrielle Garcia

The Tortoise Burrow

How the Burrow is made...

Interior of Tortoise Burrow
  • Average to about 15 feet long and 6 feet deep
  • Maintains a constant temperature year round to protect them from predators or terrible temperature changes
  • The Burrow walls are solid and stable because of the tortoises shell moving up and down the Burrow
  • The Burrow descends in a downward angle of 20-40°
Gopher Tortoise coming out of its Burrow
  • The gopher tortoises Burrow is beneficial to other species of that cohabitan in the burrows...
  • Gopher frog
  • Burrowing owl
  • Florida pine snake
  • Florida mouse
  • Eastern indigo snake.

The Gopher Tortoise is an important species because of other species of animals depending on it for survival.

Breeding and Reproduction

Reproduction

  • Mating begins in the season of Spring
  • The male searches for the female burrows in its community
  • They communicate through head bobbing, shell nipping and rubbing of pheromones
Female Tortoise laying eggs in her Burrow
  • The female digs a nest at the opening of her burrow where she buries around 6 ping-pong-ball-sized eggs that hatch around 3 months later
  • If eggs or early hatchlings seem to escape their safe haven in the Burrow raccoons, digs and skunks with eat them

Diet

  • Gopher Tortoises are herbivores
  • They eat grass, flowers, fruits and leaves etc.
  • They get their water from the plants and dew

The importance of the gopher tortoise in our ecosystem

Everything influencing the gopher tortoise's territory influences the tortoise and eventually every other creature in its biological system. One important use of these burrows are they provide protection for the other species that we have in Florida. So these tortoises and their burrows are important to our ecosystem.

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