Legolas the Gopher Tortoise
In early 2013, Legolas the Gopher Tortoise was admitted to the PRWC hospital with raw wounds on both front legs and a missing eye and an upper respiratory infection. We suspect she became ill and so lethargic that vultures or dogs had been chewing on her. She’s missing half of one front leg and the toes on the other front leg and is unable to dig a burrow to protect herself.
Cool Facts about Gopher Tortoises
The average length of a Gopher Tortoise burrow is about 30 feet. Gopher Tortoises will share their burrow with many different animals, including snakes, frogs, lizards, mice, rabbits, skunks, opossums, armadillos, and burrowing owls. The burrow provides protection from fires, droughts, summer heat, freezing temperatures, and predators. Another interesting fact is the sex of the baby is determined by the sands temperature in which the eggs were laid.
- Habitat: Gopher tortoises live in dry habitats, live oak hammocks, and dry prairies. They depend on well drained soils for digging burrows, open areas with plenty of sun for nesting, and low plant growth for food
- Diet: The gopher tortoise mainly eats broadleaf grasses and legumes. When available, they will eat pawpaws, gopher apples, saw palmetto berries, blackberries, and other fruits. They are also known to eat excrement and dead, rotting animals
- Reproduction The gopher tortoise can take 10-20 years to mature. Mating commonly occurs during the months of May and June. The female will lay about 3-15 eggs in a mound near the entrance of its burrow. It takes about 80-100 days for the eggs to hatch