Gopher tortoise?

GingerLove

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So I have a question... I live in Florida and I see Gopher tortoises quite often. I want one. But that's besides the point... if I so happen to see a gopher tortoise wandering near the road (which I see sometimes) would it be illegal to take the tortoise and bring it home? Once I saw one that was huffing and heaving like it had a respiratory problem, but I didn't take it. I'm pretty darn sure I could give it a good life... I just want to know if it's legal!!! Are gopher tortoises endangered... and does that mean I shouldn't rescue one ? Just curious as to your opinions.
 

Tom

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You'll need to check with your local authorities. All Gopherus species are protected, but many states will still allow you to get a permit and keep one. Here in CA its a really easy process to get a permit.

If you see one heading toward a road, I see no reason why you can't safely move it across the road in the direction it was already traveling, or better yet, let it walk on its own with you standing up the road a bit to stop traffic, IF it is safe to do so. No need to take it home because you saw it near a road.
 

GingerLove

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Okay, thanks! And yes, I know I could escort the tortoise to the other side... but then I wouldn't get to keep him. ;) Just being honest. :D Nah, I'll probably look into the permit thing. :) Thanks!
 

GingerLove

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Awww, nuts!!! Thanks for the link, though! :) Maybe someday one will just wander into my backyard and want to stay. ;)
 

dmmj

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no state allows wild collecting of gopher tortoises. But every state where they're natibe to usually lets people to own one if you get it from an authorized source. You usually just need a permit which are free if I remember correctly. it's better to go to Legal way then risk a $10,000 fine
 

GingerLove

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Wow! I didn't know it was that bad. Good to know! No touching cute tortoises. :( (Unless absolutely necessary). 10,000 dolllars!?? That would ruin all of my savings for an aldabra. ;)
 

dmmj

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Wow! I didn't know it was that bad. Good to know! No touching cute tortoises. :( (Unless absolutely necessary). 10,000 dolllars!?? That would ruin all of my savings for an aldabra. ;)
just to clarify there is no absolutely necessary exemption in the law. I'm not telling you what you do one way or the other just explaining.
 

ZEROPILOT

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I found a spray painted Gopher strolling through a gas station parking lot.
Nothing but blacktop and homes for miles.
Cars and trucks driving very close to him.
No tortoise habitat for at least 10 miles in any direction.
I scraped off some of the paint and bought him to the scrub area on the edge of the Everglades.
Probably the right move. The option was certain death. But I would have still been fined if caught.
I'm certain.
I think in most cases, actual intervention is not needed.
 

GingerLove

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Wow! Poor little guy. :( Good going, rescuing him. Usually the tortoises I see are either munching grass near the road or hiking a trail in the woods... or sometimes they are roadkill. :eek: I wonder if gators eat tortoises. The everglades made me think of gators.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Wow! Poor little guy. :( Good going, rescuing him. Usually the tortoises I see are either munching grass near the road or hiking a trail in the woods... or sometimes they are roadkill. :eek: I wonder if gators eat tortoises. The everglades made me think of gators.
I'm sure the would. They eat turtles
 
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Actually you can assist one across a road travelled by motorized vehicles if the tortoise is in clear and imminent danger...
Once in where my dad hunts he put a gopher tortoise in his vehicle and drove it some where safe deep in the woods away from the road I believe it was in Myakka
 

dmmj

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Actually you can assist one across a road travelled by motorized vehicles if the tortoise is in clear and imminent danger...
How is that possible when it's against the law to even touch them? has there been a change in the law that I'm unaware of?
 

ascott

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How is that possible when it's against the law to even touch them? has there been a change in the law that I'm unaware of?

Nothing has changed..always been that way...If memory serves me..there are even pointers advising to approach so the tortoise can see you, so as not to scare the tortoise, take a hand on both sides of the tort shell,lift slowly, move in the direction the tortoise is facing/pointing, lift only about a foot off the ground, walk slowly , place tortoise down on other side a safe distance away from roadway, walk away slowly so not to scare tortoise with sudden movement...and if at all during the process the tortoise expells its bladder of stored fluid then you must offer water and be sure the tortoise drinks before you leave it...

You are correct that you can not collect nor handle for any other reason...also if you find one that is injured or outwardly sick then you are to make contact with Fish and Wildlife..
 

dmmj

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I'm going to have to look up the law. I am unaware of any exception to the law.
 
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