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Join FWC in ‘shell-ebration’ of Gopher Tortoise Day

gopher tortoise at burrow with gopher tortoise day logo overlayed
Media contact: Ryan Sheets, 727-282-7642 or Release Date: 04-10-2024   All Articles Tags:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) invites you to celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day. You can find events, proclamations and fun ways to celebrate by visiting and by using #GopherTortoiseDay on social media.

Here are some tips to help gopher tortoises all year long:

  • If a tortoise appears healthy and is not in immediate danger, leaving the tortoise alone is the best option.
  • If you see a gopher tortoise crossing a road and it is safe for you to do so, you may pick it up and place it in a safe location along the roadside in the direction it was heading. Never put tortoises in water, as gopher tortoises can’t swim like turtles can.
  • Report sightings of gopher tortoises and their burrows or notify the FWC of a sick, injured or dead tortoise.
  • Consider making your home and neighborhood gopher tortoise friendly by planting gopher tortoise friendly plants or creating a Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard.

Learn more about living alongside tortoises at the FWC’s Gopher Tortoise Program Education Corner and Education Resources Page. You’ll find ideas for kids’ activities, such as fun gopher tortoise coloring pages, as well as fact sheets, posters and more.

Gopher tortoises are designated as a threatened species and protected in Florida. It is illegal to harm a gopher tortoise, its eggs or its burrow, to relocate without a permit, or to possess a tortoise, its eggs, or any parts of a tortoise. Report wildlife violations to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Gopher Tortoise Day was adopted in 2016 by the Gopher Tortoise Council to increase appreciation and conservation support of the species. The FWC and partners celebrate on April 10 each year.

Spring is an active time for gopher tortoises and many native wildlife species. Visit to learn more about gopher tortoises.