Gopher tortise

The shell or "carapace" of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is mostly brownish gray and the underside of the shell, or "plastron," is yellowish tan. Their front legs are shovel-like which helps them when digging their burrows. As with all turtles, males can be distinguished from females because males have concave plastrons. Male gopher tortoises also have longer tails than females.


  • Where to see them: Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia
  • Length: 10 in
  • Weight: 29 lbs
  • Lifespan: 60 yrears
  • Habitat: Dry forests
  • Diet: Grasses, flowers such as asters and daisies, spurge, peas, beech and pines
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