Did you know that Gopher Tortoise Day is right around the corner, on April 10th? Positively Osceola wanted to share some information provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on how we can celebrate this special day and how we can help these gentle creatures.

Gopher tortoises have been protected in Florida since 1975. There are still threats to gopher tortoise populations from habitat loss, road mortality, illegal harvest, and disease that continue to put the species at risk. To help to minimize further loss we should join the FWC and all help raise awareness for this state-designated, Threatened species. April 10th was officially adopted by the Gopher Tortoise Council as Gopher Tortoise Day to encourage organizations and individuals to work together in conserving this keystone species.

There are many ways to help raise awareness for gopher tortoises one of them being landscape your yard or neighborhood using the Florida Guide to Gopher Tortoise Friendly Plants. Did you know that a gopher tortoise generally feed within 160 feet of their burrows but they have been known to travel more than twice that distance? These amazing species graze on a variety of native and nonnative plants, including broadleaf grasses, wiregrass, prickly pears grass, wild grape, blackberry, blueberry, and many more.

You can add plants to your property that gopher tortoises can feed on. Many of the plants that you can add will blend in perfectly with your landscaping while also attracting native species of birds and butterflies. Use the Florida Guide to Gopher Tortoise Friendly Plants to learn more about the trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, and grasses that gopher tortoises like to eat.

Let’s make a positive difference and help bring awareness to Gopher Tortoises in Osceola County. For more information please visit MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise and gophertortoisecouncil.org to learn more about how you can help save this threatened species.