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Gopher tortoise moves in at Pine Island Library

May 17, 2017
SPECIAL to THE EAGLE , Pine Island Eagle

The Pine Island Library has been busy with end of season Friends' activities and preparing for the Summer Reading program. And there is a new addition to the library property a gopher tortoise.

Staff and visitors to the library last week were excited to see a gopher tortoise digging a burrow behind the library by the picnic tables. Librarian Larry Vermillion put up some stakes and caution tape so people would be aware of the new resident.

Gopher tortoises and their burrows are protected under state law.

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A gopher tortoise.


According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation website (, "gopher tortoises share these burrows with more than 350 other species, and are therefore referred to as a keystone species." Tortoises live a long time in upland habitats throughout Florida, the site says.

"Myrtle the Turtle" was suggested as a name, but since it's a tortoise, "Lourdes the Tortoise" is also possibility.

Islanders are invited to stop by the library and look out the back window to see the newest addition. The library has a few books on gopher tortoises that can be checked out.

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Islanders can also become a citizen scientist and check out the gopher tortoise smartphone app on the FWC website. Residents can record the location of gopher tortoises in their yard or neighborhood and learn more facts about gopher tortoises in Florida.

The Pine Island Public Library is at 10700 Russell Road, between Sesame Drive and Phillips Street just north of The Center. For more, call 239-533-4350.



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