April 10th was officially adopted by the Gopher Tortoise Council as Gopher Tortoise Day! In Florida, gopher tortoises are found in parts of all 67 counties and are frequently encountered in neighborhoods, along roadways, and in many of Florida’s public parks and forests.
The goal of Gopher Tortoise Day is to increase awareness and appreciation for these long lived, gentle reptiles.
Gopher tortoises are considered a keystone species because they dig burrows that provide shelter for 360 other species of wildlife, called “commensals.” These commensal species include the gopher frog, Florida mouse, eastern indigo snake, and hundreds of invertebrates like beetles and crickets. Without the gopher tortoise, many of these species would not exist.
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.
There are plenty of easy ways to get involved in Gopher Tortoise Day!
- Ask your local officials to adopt a resolution proclaiming April 10th as Gopher Tortoise Day in your community.
- Host or attend a virtual Gopher Tortoise Day event.
- Plan or attend a volunteer day. Make sure to follow CDC and state guidelines for physical distancing.
- Share your Gopher Tortoise Day events and activities with us! Email GTevents@MyFWC.com
- Use #GopherTortoiseDay on your social media posts and be sure to mention @MyFWC or tag #FWC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Why should we raise awareness for the gopher tortoise?
- The gopher tortoise is the only tortoise species native to the Southeastern United States!
- Gopher tortoises are currently state-listed as “threatened” in Florida. Without our help these magnificent creatures could end up on the endangered species list!
- The gopher tortoise is a keystone species. More than 350 different animals rely on gopher tortoise burrows as a refuge from predators, fire, and extreme temperatures
- Gopher tortoise burrows provide refuge to many other imperiled or managed species, including the Eastern indigo snake, Florida pine snake, Florida mouse, and gopher frog, just to name a few.
Join us on April 10th to “shell”-ebrate all things gopher tortoise. Help us raise awareness for this threatened species and preserve this wonderful creature for future generations.
One Reply to “Florida: Gopher Tortoise Day is Coming Up On April 10th”
I have three on my property. Due to the amount of human activity in the area, I researched finding them safe homes in a preserve somewhere with no dogs, traffic, rude little brats, etc. No one is really that interested in gopher tortoises, I discovered. All talk and no action.