Gopher Tortoise, Ben Hill County

ben hill county ga gopherus polyphemus gopher tortoise photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that this species is threatened because I see them quite often in my rambles on dirt roads throughout South Georgia, but it faces numerous challenges. Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) are emblematic of the upland pine habitat that once blanketed the Southeast but are now greatly reduced due to changes in land usage and myriad environmental factors. The Gopher Tortoise Council is a wonderful place to find information of these beloved symbols of our Southern forests.

ben hill county ga endangered gopher tortoise photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

7 Comments

Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--

7 responses to “Gopher Tortoise, Ben Hill County

  1. Pingback: Capybara, burrowing owl at Brazil Olympics | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. It’s also the official state reptile of Georgia!

  3. Wendell Theus

    HI BRIAN, GREAT PHOTOS AS ALWAYS. THIS IS A VERY FAMILIAR SIGHT ON MY PROPERTY. THIS AREA IS CALLED GOPHER CUT- BECAUSE THE FIELDS ONCE PLANTED IN THIS AREA OFTEN FAILED DUE TO THE GOPHERS CUTTING THE CROPS DOWN! HENCE- GOPHER CUT. I LIKE TO WATCH THEM AS THEY HAVE NOTHING BUT TIME TO GET PLACES & DO THEIR “GOPHER THINGS” AT ONE TIME I NAMED THE GOPHERS AFTER MY CO-WORKERS. I USED THE GOPHERS HABITS & WAYS & MATCHED THEM UP TO MY FRIENDS. I TOOK A WHITE PAINT MARKER & PENNED THE NAME ACROSS THE BACK OF THE SHELL WHERE IT STAYED FOR SOME TIME. I MEANT THEM NO HARM & DON’T THINK IT DID. THANKS

  4. Jesse M. Bookhardt

    The slow moving noble creature locally called “Gopher” occupies a special place in my memories of growing up in Jeff Davis County. They are good ambassadors for the Longleaf/Wiregrass country. I thank you for sharing this great photo. They are companions of other native species of South Georgia such as the Diamondback Rattler, and the gorgeous Indigo snake which often share burrows. When treading in an area that was occupied by gophers, we always were keen to be alert to these creatures.
    Once when I was a small child living in Lockhart, Florida back in 1948, at the urging and suggestion of some older people, several of us kids painted a gopher red. We set the animal free. Later that fall we discovered it in the woods again. It had vestiges of the paint on its shell, but much of it had been worn off by his entering and exiting his subterranean home. Now this is not something that I would recommend for it could do harm to these ancient special iconic animals. One thing about the gopher that always amazed me was how they ate some of the courses grass imaginable. Further, I was surprised at the fact that some of the old timers in the Snipesville/Denton community were fond of the gopher’s meat and ate them. Long live the South Georgia Gopher Tortoise, which when left unmolested will live many decades.

  5. HeavenlyJane

    You are lucky to see them so frequently. I live in Atlanta and eastern box turtles used to be so common but it’s been years now since I’ve seen one totter across my path

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