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April 16, 2011

This is Helmet. He is a baby gopher tortoise. The bf found him wandering in the street, so we took him into our yard until the traffic slowed down through the neighborhood. His burrow is across the street, near his mama (who used to live in our yard, but she switches every now and then). They’re a protected species in Florida, and you aren’t supposed to mess with them. Usually we don’t touch them, but this little guy is so small I was scared no one would see him.

Or that the dogs in our neighborhood would get him. Or a cat.

Being five inches long and wandering around in the street is not a good idea. Just so you know. Cars are big. Dogs are big. And people are not always nice.

After everyone’s rush to get home, we took him back to his burrow and he went happily back into his tortoise-house.

We love our tortoise friends, they’re interesting and funny, and they dig giant burrows all over the yard. The little guy’s mama has at least three in our yard that we know of, she likes to make them along the fences in the azalea bushes.

This is an excellent resource for all gopher tortoise related information. There are quite a few laws regarding the tortoises, I recommend reading her page. I doubt the people who run them over know that they’re a protected species, or care for that matter. It’s a shame, really.

I think Helmet’s mama might have decided to move after our dog passed away. The outside cats took to peeing all over our yard, and despite my efforts to get friends with dogs to come over and pee to keep the cats out, well, let’s just say it hasn’t happened. I know at least one of the darn things marked her old burrow. That’s one of the reasons I have INSIDE cats. We have a lot of wildlife here, and they haven’t evolved to handle cats as a predator for the most part. I don’t want to be responsible for having my animals decimate a population of native birds or small animals.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink*
    April 17, 2011 2:01 am

    He’s so cute!

  2. April 17, 2011 10:59 am

    Love the pic of him nomming that banana! Well done for saving him from the road!

  3. April 17, 2011 11:34 am

    Thanks for commenting Susan, MamaB! I know, isn’t he so cute? I could hardly contain myself. I actually kinda hope he decides to make his home in our yard since the new house across the street has already gotten into trouble during construction for not notifying FL wildlife officials that they were building so close to their burrows and not getting a permit. We love them living in our yard. Especially cute lil suckers like this one!

  4. Teresa permalink
    April 25, 2011 7:25 am


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