Gopher tortoise grazing

KAGDR

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Dec 18, 2018
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25
Location (City and/or State)
North Central Florida
What type of grasses/plants can I plant /seed in a part of my property so the gopher tortoise would have more food to graze on...the soil is a lot of bare sand,lots of oak,with areas of pine too.....I mowed the tall sparse grass,hoping it threw seeds and to force new tender growth for grazing for the tortoise and deer. My wildlife camera hasn't caught any pictures of the tortoise yet,but lots of deer at night...even bucks with antlers....I figure if there's a mix of seeds I can scatter it out there, plus in the enclosure I am starting next week ,so I can adopt a tortoise. I read somewhere wheat grass,radish, beets....but is there regular grass seed I can buy in bulk and add really good stuff? I am new to Florida and what type of grasses are best....I am in Cedar Key,but not on the island....north central Florida, south west of Gainsville.....any help and suggestions will be appreciated.....oh, and I think I will be looking to adopt a sulcata since they do well here, I have lots of land and there are many looking to be rehomed if that makes a difference in the type of grasses to plant in the enclosure
 

Cathie G

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What type of grasses/plants can I plant /seed in a part of my property so the gopher tortoise would have more food to graze on...the soil is a lot of bare sand,lots of oak,with areas of pine too.....I mowed the tall sparse grass,hoping it threw seeds and to force new tender growth for grazing for the tortoise and deer. My wildlife camera hasn't caught any pictures of the tortoise yet,but lots of deer at night...even bucks with antlers....I figure if there's a mix of seeds I can scatter it out there, plus in the enclosure I am starting next week ,so I can adopt a tortoise. I read somewhere wheat grass,radish, beets....but is there regular grass seed I can buy in bulk and add really good stuff? I am new to Florida and what type of grasses are best....I am in Cedar Key,but not on the island....north central Florida, south west of Gainsville.....any help and suggestions will be appreciated.....oh, and I think I will be looking to adopt a sulcata since they do well here, I have lots of land and there are many looking to be rehomed if that makes a difference in the type of grasses to plant in the enclosure
Hello. It's really beautiful what you're trying to do.. As far as deer go...if the areas aren't protected while growing and thickening the little dears will eat everything. There's not a lot of foods for deer in Florida. You are so blessed to have wild gophers on your property. You could try maybe planting grains and grasses and divert the deer to areas away from the gophers. I'm sure older members of tortoise forum will be answering you soon.
 

Cathie G

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I just started giving the deer corn....hoping they'll leave some grass for the tortoise,and to draw them away from the tortoise home
Also hay might work.( I suggest oat hay or Timothy) In diversion areas. It's really hard to start plants around hungry animals. Deer will kill the plants by eating or tromping on them. But so will Tortoises. Possibly start plants inside now. Deer also like mineral blocks and could be an additional diversion that's good for them. Plant fast growing native plants, grasses and flowers. I apologize since I'm saying things you evidently already know. If you can coax the deer into a safe habitat for them away from the gophers habitat you're going to have a blast. I'm just saying this next statement because a tortoise can accidentally bite you. It will be your fault because they are naturally tame. If you don't tower over them by standing up its possible to hand feed a little extra food. Just make sure the food is several inches away from your fingers. Like a long leaf of a green leafy romaine or something speared with chop sticks. I really wish I could help you more. I'll be hoping and praying your home becomes the sanctuary you evidently want.
 

Cathie G

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didnt even think of the mineral /salt blocks.....good idea
Hay can plant grasses too or cover them. Etc etc... I can feel it in my bones you're gonna do it. That's what I love about tortoise forum. Talking with each other awakens our memories. Most people wouldn't even know the word "mineral block". Don't underestimate yourself ever.
 

Cathie G

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Hay can plant grasses too or cover them. Etc etc... I can feel it in my bones you're gonna do it. That's what I love about tortoise forum. Talking with each other awakens our memories. Most people wouldn't even know the word "mineral block". Don't underestimate yourself ever.
I was wondering...How are you doing? I heard northern Florida was getting my ice and snow. Now I am. I'm glad cause we need a good freeze.
 

KAGDR

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Dec 18, 2018
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Location (City and/or State)
North Central Florida
Doing great,sunny and 70's today....it got cold for a few nights ,I covered my plants,but it didnt go below 38 here,other places got frost and and a few went below freezing for a few hours....I am close to the ocean.....not on the island close ,but as the bird flys about 2 miles,5 miles by road.....I think that helps ,the water temp is 62 in the ocean
 

Cathie G

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Doing great,sunny and 70's today....it got cold for a few nights ,I covered my plants,but it didnt go below 38 here,other places got frost and and a few went below freezing for a few hours....I am close to the ocean.....not on the island close ,but as the bird flys about 2 miles,5 miles by road.....I think that helps ,the water temp is 62 in the ocean
We got our first real snowstorm of the year today. It's pretty. I'm enjoying it.
 

KAGDR

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Joined
Dec 18, 2018
Messages
25
Location (City and/or State)
North Central Florida
I moved here from Syracuse NY....lots of lake effect......I dont miss snow ,not one little bit....lol
I ordered 50 lbs of pasture mix from Peaceful valley ,and i ordered African Grazer ,and broadleaf testudo mix from Tortoise supply
I hope the gopher likes it , and what ever guy I end up with from rescue....
I am staking out the pen....I'm shooting for 24 X 24.....not sure if I should trench down 2 feet or not , with wood or cinderblock ,or just fill the trench with cement? ,read somewhere if you put pavers along the inner walls I wont have to worry too bad about one tunneling out.....was going for 2 foot high,maybe marine plywood ,ripped into 4' long 2' high pieces , not sure its tall enough for a good size sulcata , and not sure about chemicals leaching out of pressure treated wood.....I want to do this once,I dont want to get a big guy and have to wrestle him back in the pen...or get sick
 

Cathie G

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I moved here from Syracuse NY....lots of lake effect......I dont miss snow ,not one little bit....lol
I ordered 50 lbs of pasture mix from Peaceful valley ,and i ordered African Grazer ,and broadleaf testudo mix from Tortoise supply
I hope the gopher likes it , and what ever guy I end up with from rescue....
I am staking out the pen....I'm shooting for 24 X 24.....not sure if I should trench down 2 feet or not , with wood or cinderblock ,or just fill the trench with cement? ,read somewhere if you put pavers along the inner walls I wont have to worry too bad about one tunneling out.....was going for 2 foot high,maybe marine plywood ,ripped into 4' long 2' high pieces , not sure its tall enough for a good size sulcata , and not sure about chemicals leaching out of pressure treated wood.....I want to do this once,I dont want to get a big guy and have to wrestle him back in the pen...or get sick
If I don't have to go anywhere I don't mind a day or two of snow. I just watch the birds from my couch. I can't really give you advice on sulcotas. I don't use plywood for any of my animals though. It will mold especially in Florida...not to mention the sand and chemicals. I've only experienced wild gophers so I didn't build a tortoise enclosure in Florida. And you're right large tortoises are heavy. That's one reason why I chose a Russian. A tiny person needs a tiny tortoise. Tortoise Forum has many threads related to good sulcota care. I like Kamp Kenan online too. He does a lot of videos on building reptile enclosures in Florida. I'll be thinking of you.
 

Cathie G

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If I don't have to go anywhere I don't mind a day or two of snow. I just watch the birds from my couch. I can't really give you advice on sulcotas. I don't use plywood for any of my animals though. It will mold especially in Florida...not to mention the sand and chemicals. I've only experienced wild gophers so I didn't build a tortoise enclosure in Florida. And you're right large tortoises are heavy. That's one reason why I chose a Russian. A tiny person needs a tiny tortoise. Tortoise Forum has many threads related to good sulcota care. I like Kamp Kenan online too. He does a lot of videos on building reptile enclosures in Florida. I'll be thinking of you.
I did forget to mention just in case you're not familiar with Florida: I'm thinking you have larger areas where wildlife hangout. Walk slowly and watch your feet while walking. It drove me crazy when I moved to Florida. I kept wondering why Floridians move so slowly. Until I almost stepped on a snake and simalar issues.
 

KAGDR

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Joined
Dec 18, 2018
Messages
25
Location (City and/or State)
North Central Florida
Oh yeah,I usually kinda swing a cabbage palm stem ,about 4 foot,swing and tap the ground in front of me. Kinda like a blind person does with the white cane,No disrespect implied . I wear cowboy boots around the yard,and spent big bucks on snake boots I wear when I am going thru a lot of brush or the wet areas. I have only seen 2 garter snakes and a rat snake.....but I know if I go back into my swampy areas in summer I'll come across some snakes I dont want to be around , I'm more afraid to come up on a gator. I know this time of year the snakes are mostly are hibernating but I pay more attention when its warm incase one is basking in the sun. I have gotten some shots on my wildlife cam of a coyote and a very large cat...not a house cat...none of my gopher tortoise yet....I wonder if I scared him away
 

Cathie G

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Oh yeah,I usually kinda swing a cabbage palm stem ,about 4 foot,swing and tap the ground in front of me. Kinda like a blind person does with the white cane,No disrespect implied . I wear cowboy boots around the yard,and spent big bucks on snake boots I wear when I am going thru a lot of brush or the wet areas. I have only seen 2 garter snakes and a rat snake.....but I know if I go back into my swampy areas in summer I'll come across some snakes I dont want to be around , I'm more afraid to come up on a gator. I know this time of year the snakes are mostly are hibernating but I pay more attention when its warm incase one is basking in the sun. I have gotten some shots on my wildlife cam of a coyote and a very large cat...not a house cat...none of my gopher tortoise yet....I wonder if I scared him away
Yea. I saw a lot of snakes and wildlife and it was fun. That's where they live so I doubt if you scared off the tortoises. You can build them a beautiful home somewhere else, but if they escape they'll try to find home. I was so blessed to walk safely in the swamp.
 
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