The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is an amazing resident of the state of Florida. Considered a Keystone species, over 400 species use the gopher tortoise burrows. They are a terrestrial (land dwelling) species, occupying dry, well draining land in various habitats. It takes 18-25 years for gopher tortoises to become sexually mature and they can live for more than 60 years. If you find a gopher tortoise crossing the road, it is ok to stop and assist them. Place them off the side of the road in the direction they were traveling. DO NOT RELOCATE A TORTOISE! They have a very strong homing instinct and will wander to find their home range. The survival rate of tortoises relocated is very low. Gopher tortoises also have an amazing ability to heal themselves so if you find an injured tortoise, often the best thing to do is place them near their burrow so they can return home and heal. Keep an eye out or more detailed information on this iconic Florida species in the upcoming months!