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Animal Information

Gopher Tortoise Southern Swamps

Gopher Tortoise

Gopherus polyphemus

Biome: Southern Swamps

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: These large tortoises, usually 6 to 9 1/2 inches in diameter, are found in sandy coastal plain regions from South Carolina, all of Florida, to eastern Louisiana. They have stumpy, elephant-like feet and eat grasses, vegetables and fruits. An accomplished burrower, their tunnels can be as long as 35 feet in length and wide enough for them to turn around. Many other animals seek shelter in their tunnels, including insects, burrowing owls, raccoons, opossums, frogs, indigo snakes and eastern diamondback rattlers. Their numbers are declining, and in some locations they are considered endangered species.

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