A gopher tortoise strolling across a road or through a backyard or field is a common sight during spring in Florida. Yet as tortoises become increasingly active this time of year, they are vulnerable to being struck by vehicles and injured or killed. Don’t forget to look out for these slow-moving reptiles with their bony-plated shells and elephantine legs.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages drivers to slow down on highways to help protect the state’s gopher tortoises. If a gopher tortoise is crossing the road, it is OK to pick it up and move it to safety – but keep it pointed in the direction it was heading and do not put this terrestrial animal into the water.
People can report injured or dead gopher tortoises to the FWC by calling 850-921-1030during weekdays or by contacting the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922. Harming a gopher tortoise, its burrows or eggs is against the law.