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Gopher Tortoise

Gopherus polyphemus


Gopher tortoises are so named because of their ability to dig large, deep burrows. These burrows are widely used by other species throughout the ecosystem, making gopher tortoises a keystone species with a pivotal role to play in their native community. Gopher tortoises have shovel-like front legs that help them to dig, and their back legs are strong and sturdy. As with all turtles, the undersides of males’ shells are concave, distinguishing them from females. Male gopher tortoises also have longer tails than females and extended shells under their chins that they use for ramming or butting, but females are larger in size. As adults they are mostly brownish gray with a yellowish, tan underside. In hatchlings, the scute (the polygon shapes covering the shell) are bright yellow with brown edges.



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James McNair
Spotted by
James McNair

Florida, USA

Spotted on Sep 29, 2014
Submitted on Sep 29, 2014

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