Helping Florida Wildlife
Reptiles are commonly found crossing the road. If they are uninjured you are allowed to pick them up and help them cross to the other side. They know where they want to go - either to new foraging and hunting areas or going to lay their eggs. (see the special precautions below for safety issues)
The gopher tortoise is Florida's only land tortoise. It can be distinguished by it's spadelike front feet that are edged by large strong nails that they use for digging burrows. They live in dry upland areas with sandy soil.They don't live in water and can't swim. The two most common reasons that these tortoises would need to be captured and cared for are 1) they get hit by a car or 2) they are chewed up by a dog. In both these instances - pick them up and place them in a box on newspaper and put the lid with air holes on the box. Keep in a cool, dark, quiet place protected from flies.
If you find an uninjured gopher tortoise in the road, let it go on the other side. If it is in inappropriate habitat, put it in a box and call to get professional information. It could be moving out of an area that has been destroyed by new construction and needs assitance to find a new home.
EXOTICS! If it doesn't look quit like the pictures here or on out GT page it may be an exotic tortoise and should never be left in the wild. They don't do well and it is illegal to release exotics because they can be detrimental to our native wildlife. Call us for assistance.
CAUTION! Never relocate a gopher tortoise more than 2 miles from where it was originally found and do not expose it to other tortoises. The FFWCC is monitoring an upper respiratory tract disease in populations throughout Florida. We don't want to spread this disease to healthy tortoises, even infected tortoises may not show symptoms.
For more information on Florida's gopher tortoise go to "Living with Wildlife - Gopher Tortoise"
Florida has many species of water turtles.
The three most common reasons that snakes would need to be captured and cared for are 1) they get hit by a car or 2) they are chewed up by a cat or dog or 3) they are beat on by a person with a blunt object. In any of these instances - pick them up gently using a clean cloth or towel, supporting the full length of the body. Place them in a box with the cloth and put the lid with air holes on the box. Keep in a cool, dark, quiet place protected from flies. Make sure the box is securely closed, otherwise it will easily escape.
24-hour helpline for information and referrals: (352) 371-4400.