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.

Get on board for Gopher Tortoise Day!
Did you know over 350 species of wildlife use gopher tortoise burrows to survive? Certainly a reptile supporting so many deserves recognition! This year for the first time, Florida is celebrating Gopher Tortoise Day on April 10 to raise awareness about this important keystone species. You can get involved by proposing your city or county adopt Gopher Tortoise Day, hosting your own Gopher Tortoise Day event, or simply telling others why gopher tortoise conservation is vital!

Visit Florida’s Gopher Tortoise Day website for resources and information about getting involved: http://gophertortoisedayfl.com/

Learn about the Gopher Tortoise Council: http://www.gophertortoisecouncil.org/

If you see a gopher tortoise crossing a road, what should you do? http://myfwc.com/media/2594288/GT-safe-roads.pdf

Learn more about the gopher tortoise by visiting MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise or GopherTortoiseCouncil.org.