Tortoise Power
November 9, 2020 10:13 PM   Subscribe

The Gopher Tortoise Council The Gopher Tortoise Council was founded in 1978, to learn more about these creatures; teach about them, and preserve them. They are found in the American Southwest, burrow, these burrows provide housing for more than 350 other species. There is some controversy about how to perserve their habitat, but being endangered is because their pine forrest ecostystem has not been taken care of. This is a good explainer The 2020 meeting of the Council has been disrupted because of Covid, so the theme is "stay in your burrow" There is merch
posted by PinkMoose (10 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
There was a moment in the first linked video, where I was like, "Oh, that sure is a weird-looking tail... oh, wait, it's not a tail...? OHHHH BOY OHHHHH NO"
posted by tickingclock at 10:47 PM on November 9, 2020

Gopherus polyphemus, apparently also known as the 'cracker chicken', 'Florida chicken', 'Georgia bacon', and 'Hoover chicken'. ('Human predation on the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) in north-central Florida' - PDF)
posted by pracowity at 11:58 PM on November 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Southeast, not Southwest!

They're handsome little fellas.
posted by saladin at 5:29 AM on November 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

Embarassing typo! Will contact mods to fix!
posted by PinkMoose at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2020

Southeast, not Southwest!

Southwest FL is absolutely correct. FL has turtles that live holes in dry ground and owls that burrow!
posted by photoslob at 8:08 AM on November 10, 2020

There was a moment in the first linked video, where I was like, "Oh, that sure is a weird-looking tail... oh, wait, it's not a tail...? OHHHH BOY OHHHHH NO"

anecdote time: I was visiting a local zoo's reptile house and they had a couple of baby tortoises in their own tank, for close observation. We watched one of them climb onto a tall (for them) rock, and then fall over onto its back. It wiggled around in distress for a little bit, and then pooped. There wasn't a keeper around, and I felt pretty bad for the little guy, so I ended up calling the zoo customer service line.

It's kind of weirdly funny that their problem solving script includes "crap and see if that works," but I've been known to spend 20 minutes in the bathroom at work if I'm tired of a project, so maybe we're not that different.
posted by snerson at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2020

I miss seeing these guys on my walks now that we live in New Mexico not Florida. I bought a t-shirt and made a donation. These guys are in the midst of losing an enormous amount of habbitat. Anything I can do to help from a distance...
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:54 AM on November 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

When my father was a small boy in Florida in the 1930s he and his little brother had a job at an orange grove catching gophers -- apparently their burrowing wasn't good for the trees. I don't think they made much of a dent in the population though, because he told me since they got paid per tortoise, they would release captured ones and "catch" them again.
posted by JanetLand at 11:15 AM on November 10, 2020

The are the state reptile of Georgia, and a fascinating study organism. The UGA Coastal Ecology Lab has a great Facebook page where they post pictures gopher tortoises and all of other organisms they find in gopher tortoise burrows (and alligators. lots of alligators)
posted by hydropsyche at 12:45 PM on November 10, 2020

I made a contribution for one of the shirts (and some extra $$ in case they don't get enough shirt orders)--I am creating a collection of COVID "Wear your mask/Shelter in place" T-shirts.
posted by agatha_magatha at 2:25 PM on November 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

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