Friday, January 4, 2013

Stump Pass - 10.08.12 - Post 4

It's Gopher Tortoise Day!  Actually, even cooler than that, it's baby Gopher Tortoise Day!

So this is a baby Gopher Tortoise.  You can tell by how small he looks even next to some blades of grass, but also by the amount of yellow in his shell.

Here you can see him against leaves and sticks in his habitat.  He's very wee!

You can see the sand on his back.  I've never seen the phrase "obligate burrower" before I started looking these guys up.  I know "obligate carnivore" from owning ferrets, but I've never seen "obligate burrowers".  But it's a good thing they are so driven to make their own holes.  Scientists have documented over 360 different species - everything from snakes to owls to armadillos will occupy an abandoned gopher tortoise burrow.

Here's a more grown up guy.  Actually, probably a grown up girl.  Though not a perfect science, most of the boys have a bony protrusion under their chin, jutting out from their shell.  Females don't have that and I don't see it on this one.

She does look like she's doing her tortoise best to say cheese for the camera.  Those are some bizarre teeth!

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