Gopher Tortoises at Koreshan

A gopher tortoise sits in the sand near the water.
A gopher tortoise sits outside of a burrow.

A gopher tortoise burrow in Koreshan State Park

Koreshan State Park is home to several native and non-native species, but what you will most often see at our park are gopher tortoises.

These rare, land-dwelling reptiles are protected in every state and cannot be harmed. In Florida, they are considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act and can be found in each of the state's 67 counties.

On average, gopher tortoises can range from 9-11 inches when fully grown but can be up to 15 inches long. Hatchlings are typically yellow-orange and brown in color, but the brightness of their colors fade with age. In the wild, they can live for as long as 60 years.

These tortoises have an important role in Florida ecosystems. Gopher tortoises are considered a keystone species because their burrows are used by over 350 other animals as habitat for finding food, shelter from fires and predators, and protection from the elements.

To learn more about gopher tortoises, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.