Gopher tortoise from Palm Beach Zoo visits WPTV's studio
3:21 PM, Apr 6, 2013
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The Palm Beach Zoo brought a special guest to the studio, a gopher tortoise.
The tortoise is considered the "state tortoise" of Florida. It can dig burrows as deep as three meters to sleep away from predators and weather. They weigh about 9 pounds and live to be forty years or older.
Their conservation status is considered "vulnerable" due to human development, relocation and disease. Conservation of the gopher tortoise helps other animals because animals like owns, frogs and snakes use their burrows.
The zoo says the public can help to preserve the five species of tortoise that inhabit local waterways. All are considered endangered or critically endangered..
"Many of these turtles die each year from ingesting or getting caught in garbage. Make sure to cut the rings from bottle caps and the plastic holders around 6-packs. Avoid littering and recycle appropriate materials. If you live on the coast, reduce the amount of artificial light casted onto the beach during nesting season (Mar- Oct). Use red lights for outdoor areas and close curtains to hide indoor lighting," the Palm Beach Zoo suggests.
Guests to the Palm Beach Zoo also have the opportunity to meet tortoises up close with a new hands-on Aldabra tortoise experience. Guests have the chance to feed three tortoises sweet potatoes and vegetables and give them a bath with a misting of water. Proceeds go towards the care, feeding and enrichment of the tortoises at the Zoo, plus conservation efforts for animals in the wild.