The Gopher Tortoise
Whether you are exploring the park by foot or bike, you have a very good chance to run across one of our favorite park inhabitants, the gopher tortoise. Gopher tortoise’s are one of the many species that make their home at Seabranch Preserve State Park, and they are one of the most important of them all!
The gopher tortoise is a land based tortoise, preferring to make their homes in the high and dry sand pine scrub areas of the park. They dig burrows in the ground that can go as deep as 10 feet and 40 feet in length. These burrows are important not only to the tortoise but are also used by over 350 other species including other park residents such as the indigo snake, gopher frog and gopher cricket. On a sunny day at he park you will find gopher tortoises out and about feeding on some of their favorite grasses and small plants.
A major threat to our gopher tortoises is vehicle traffic, as they often try to cross roads to find new areas to feed or dig burrows. When driving near the park or any areas that have gopher tortoises please drive carefully and be on the lookout for any tortoises in the road. On your next visit to the park keep you eyes out for tortoises and burrows. Please don’t disturb them by getting too close or touching them but they do make great picture subjects!