Gopher tortoises build enormous burrows that can be up to 50 feet long and nearly 10 feet deep, and not only just one burrow. Over the area of several acres, it can build many burrows to suit its needs over a lifetime. These tunnels keep it safe from predators, cool in summer, warm in winter, and more importantly – become homes and shelters for other species who have evolved to take advantage of this master burrower’s talents. Biologists have named at least 360 species that rely on these burrows for their own livelihood, such as foxes, skunks, rattlesnakes, etc, which is why they are known as a keystone species.
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Florida Nature Facts is a series about interesting facts about the flora, fauna and places that make Florida so amazing. Posts include nature photos that are short & sweet, and all about the native and naturalized wildlife that is all around us with just one or two interesting nature facts that you might not know about. If you want to find out even more, simply click on the image or links above!
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