Finally Found Myself A Florida Gopher Tortoise!

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Marty333

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I have been looking nonstop for a wild Gopher Tortoise to take pictures of. I marked burrows and would go out weekly to see if I could catch any action. Sadly I never saw one until I unexpectantly came across one on Easter Day. (Be prepared to read a little bit because it's now story time) I was a t a friends house to celebrate Easter. They have a huge lot that is filled with saw palmettos and pine trees. I wasn't expecting to see anything spectacular that day because all I had planned was to eat cucumber salad and take a dip in their pull. So I left my camera at home thinking I would have no need for it. I was getting tired so in order to liven things up I asked my mom to come bring are greyhounds over so they could get a nice run since we have no backyard. So my mom left and I went swimming. When the dogs arrived the did their run and about an hour or two after they came I heard one of my greyhounds barking and they never bark unless something has caught there attention that they want. Thinking it was just a rabbit I went over to see what the commotion was. And lone behold it was an adult GOPHER TORTOISE!! I was freaking out because I had no camera and I wanted to take pictures because I havent seen a full grown one since I was in elementary school. I pulled my dog into the house so she would leave the tort alone and grabbed the people that we were visiting's camera. It was on the other side of their fence so I jumped the fence to get better pictures. I am guessing its a female from its gular scutes but I didn't check its plastron because I didn't want to disturb it. So finally here are some pictures!
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So I have a few questions

Can you guess what age she is?If so how old do you believe she is?
Is she really a she? Can you tell from her Gular scutes or is she an undetermined sex?

She was passing and it seemed she wanted to get on our side of the fence do you think she might have been looking for a place to lay? I wouldn't think she would be returning to her burrow if she was tring to get to the other side of the fence. What are your thoughts on her behavior?

Sorry for the long post I am just SOOOOO EXCITED!!!! Also sorry for not being on for awhile I have been pretty busy lately but I do lurk occasionally.
 

ALDABRAMAN

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Nice pictures, for sure adult gopher. I am not sure of the sex unless you see the underside.
 

pdrobber

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nice! I remember seeing gopher tortoise near my parents and grandparents' condo complex in Punta Gorda, FL. My dad said there wasn't any this year. There had been a burrow at the end of Rampart Blvd. and they would walk around the complex grazing and basking in the parking spaces.
 

Edna

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Very nice find, Marty, and good to see you on the forum. You've been missed!
 

Az tortoise compound

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I would guess it's an old female by looking at the wear on the top of her shell. It looks like lots of tortoise feet have been on her shell:)
 

zesty_17

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Great pics! I remember seeing my first gopher tortoise in florida... I was about 11 years old & the family drove to "turtle beach." I was thinking sea turtles, well, as soon as we got out of the car, ( it was almost sunset) i heard the funniest running noise as gopher tortoises were running-r-u-n-n-i-n-g- back to their burrows! It was awesome! totally unexpected & very cool to see.
 

Angi

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Grrr.... I don't know and it drives me crazy. I am suprise I haven't been kicked off the site for annoying people with my stupid double posts. It doesn't happen with F/B, but started when I got a new computer.
 

dmmj

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Shelly said:
Angi, why do all your posts double up like that?

I suspect it is all part of her master plan to increase her post total. :)

And awesome pics, nice job as always marty
 
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