Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gopher Tortoise and NASA Space Shuttle

Turtle Tidbit #1 (the first post in my new series) is an AFP photo by Bruce Weaver published by Yahoo! News. The photo, seen by clicking the link below, was taken at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  It depicts a gopher tortoise against the backdrop of a NASA space shuttle.  This photo is truly a contrast between the old and the new because the gopher tortoise originated in North America 60 million years ago, making it one of the oldest living species.

Click this link:

A few facts:
  • Gopher tortoises live in deep burrows which provide them with a constant, comfortable temperature.
  • Gopher tortoises are vegetarians and eat grasses, fruit, legumes, and even flowers.
  • Gopher tortoises are categorized as "Threatened" on Florida's Endangered Species list.  The main reason their numbers are decreasing is loss of habitat.
  • In the past, many gopher tortoises were killed either for food or by people who were trying to kill the rattlesnakes that often share their burrows. Today, Florida law protects both the gopher tortoise and its burrow.

Please see my June 5 follow-up post, In Pursuit of the Elusive Gopher Tortoise, and the other links below for additional information:
  1. Gopher Tortoise Facts, Gopher Tortoise Services Inc. website
  2. Gopher Tortoises, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website
  3. Gopher Tortoise, Wikipedia page
  4. The Gopher Tortoise, A Species of Special Concern on the website of Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens.  Fascinating account of how gopher tortoises moved into a St. Augustine yard that had been left to revert to it's natural vegetative state.  

Turtle Tidbits is a Truffles, Turtles & Tunes series that calls attention to news about turtles and tortoises.  Since the news items themselves are copyrighted, I will post just the link accompanied by a short introductory comment and some followup information.  To view all posts in the Turtle Tidbits series, click on its Topic Label in the navigation column on the right side of the screen.

© 2011, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

1 comment:

Kipluck said...

What a fun image! And it includes 2 things I love... space and turtles & torts!