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Gopher Tortoise

Hello. I live in South Florida and have a few questions concerning Gopher Tortoises. I have been finding a number of burrows that appear to be Gopher Tortoise but am unsure if they are active and/or armadillo burrows. I know that the shape of the burrow can tell you alot, but some of the burrows dont quite fit the "mold". I know there are tortoises in the area (as i've seen them), but I would like to get a better idea of how many. So how can I tell if a burrow is active and if it is in fact a gopher tortoise and can they coexist with armadillos. Any other pertinent information would be great . Thanks!

Wildlife Expert - Ken Burton

Tortoise burrows typically have half-moon-shaped entrances that approximate the shape of the shell. The angle of the entrance (about 30 degrees below horizontal) also can be a helpful criterion. However, as you say, some can be hard or impossible to identify.

Active burrows are free of debris, vegetation, and spider webs at the mouth; usually have tortoise tracks leading into and away from them; and often have tortoises in them. Tortoise researchers and surveyors insert video cameras on long probes into burrows to see the interiors and determine whether or not they are occupied by tortoises. A permit is necessary to do this.

Gopher tortoises and armadillos can coexist, but armadillos often eat tortoise eggs and occupy tortoise burrows. As you probably know, armadillos are not native to Florida.

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