Today we did a little survey of the back yard, before mowing for the first time this year, and found we have 7 active gopher tortoise holes… 2 really big ones, 4 medium size ones, and 1 small one. I had seen the small hole the other day but because it had grown over a bit, I didn’t think it was being used. But when Sadie brought us a little female turtle, we took her to the small hole and in she went! We think we have a total of three turtles living in our yard. Really neat! Here’s a picture of one of the holes we had a few years back.
The tracks going out of it are from the turtle dragging its stubby little legs along. They can actually move pretty quickly when they want to… but mostly they just plod around the yard, munching grass.
The sand pile in front of the hole is called the apron, and female turtles lay their eggs in there, just a few inches under the sand. The little turtle we found today is female – males have a dent in their plastron (the shell underneath) – hers was smooth.