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Need Help Identifying This Florida Turtle Immediatly.

Discussion in 'Turtles' started by Diuqil69, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Very true! I didn't think of that! That would make much more sense.

    Is the back end of the tortoise smooth or jagged?
  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Many young tortoises look similar. I'm actually surprised I was the first to suggest it was a native species, lol. I saw plenty when I was hiking in certain areas. If there is a local herp society, they should be able to assist you in identifying it positively, as many tortoise species can be hard to differentiate when so young.

    If it is a Gopher, it is totally illegal for you to keep it, as Florida has strict laws about their gopher torts. This is mostly because the population have been fragmented by human activity, and in many cases decimated (or worse) by our "good intentions". Heck, finding them living on your property (the burrows they dig) can hold up any efforts to sell your house! Frequently, land that is known to be inhabited by breeding adults is purchased or acquired by government to protect them. If they are living or breeding in your area, naturalists may be interested in studying/tagging/protecting them.

    More info:

    Scientific name: Gopherus polyphemus
    Gopher tortoise - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. Diuqil69

    Diuqil69 Member

    So is their a chance it is a gopher tortoise or is it definantly a sulcata tortoise. after looking at several pictures im pretty well sure its a sulcata tortoise but ive seen a few other turtles/tortoises around. i couldnt tell u what they were but they were of decent size and came out of the woods around my neighborhood.
  4. Erwynn

    Erwynn Elite Member

    They do look quite similar. That's a very tricky situation because one species you can keep and the other you cannot. So what I would suggest is to contact your local department of wildlife and ask them. If it's a gopher, they can put it where they feel it'll be out of harms way away from roads and whatnot. And if it's a sulcata they'll be like "have a nice day" so I think that way you'd know for sure.

    From the coloration though, it does kind of look like a gopher to me.
  5. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    I was going to suggest gopher tortoise as well. They have that coloring when they are hatchlings.
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And it will be much easier to find out now than when the game ranger shows up at your door to arrest you.
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Gopher tortoises should NOT be moved from their 'locality'. People used to try to relocate colonies of them, to cohabit with other gopher tortoises, thinking it would be ideal, since Gophers colonized the high and dry areas that people favor (as opposed to swamps, which make up much of FL.) The result was sever die off, up to and over 75% of all individuals from BOTH colonies, as a result of the tortoises spreading diseases to other tortoises from geographically separated areas.

    Any Fish and Wildlife officer in FL aught to know better than to try and move a Gopher. If they take it, for whatever reason, it will very likely go to a zoo or other institution, where it will have no contact with wild tortoises, and no way to spread any potential diseases to them.

    as to the likelihood of it being Gopher vs. Sulacata, while FL has a substantial exotics population, I have read nothing yet about Sulcatas being one of the species. Not saying they aren't, just that all I have heard about is pythons, monitors, iguanas, geckos, and a few suspected species of venomous snake. I never encountered Sulcatas in my forays, though I did frequently see Gophers. The adults are larger, and usually of a uniform grey to rust/brown color.
  8. Kane

    Kane New Member

    I actually think this could be my tortoise that escaped his enclosure. I live near himes/Kennedy intersection. The tortiose has been missing for almost a year though. I hope it is mine that escaped...finally give me peace of mind he's okay!
  9. methos75

    methos75 Elite Member

    That is a newborn Turtle, way way too small to be one missing a year

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