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Gopher Tortoise Program

Celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day year-round with a 'gopher tortoise friendly' yard!

Help conserve gopher tortoises by making your yard ‘tortoise friendly’ and participating in our new recognition program.

Learn more about the Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard Recognition Program

Revised Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines

Stakeholder feedback received during the public comment period held from April 20th - May 20th, 2020 has been incorporated into the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines. This draft of the guidelines was presented at the July 2020 Commission meeting. More information is available in the revised permitting guidelines flier, including a summary of the revisions made in response to stakeholder feedback from the public comment period.

Gopher tortoises are long-lived reptiles that occupy upland habitat throughout Florida including forests, pastures, and yards. They dig deep burrows for shelter and forage on low-growing plants. Gopher tortoises share their burrows with more than 350 other species, and are therefore referred to as a keystone species. In Florida, the gopher tortoise is listed as Threatened. Both the tortoise and its burrow are protected under state law. Gopher tortoises must be relocated before any land clearing or development takes place, and property owners must obtain permits from the FWC before capturing and relocating tortoises. For more information on gopher tortoise permitting, or how to get involved, please see links below. 


Sick or injured tortoise: On weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., please call (850) 921-1030. After hours and on weekends, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's toll-free Wildlife Alert hotline at (888) 404-3922, or use #FWC or *FWC on your cell phone. You also can text

Dead tortoise: Report sightings of dead gopher tortoises on FWC’s mortality webform and provide information on cause of mortality, if known. Please report mortalities suspected to be caused by illegal activities to FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at (888) 404-3922.

Report Mortality Online