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Gopher Tortoise Program

Gopher Tortoise Recipient Sites

Help conserve gopher tortoises by establishing a gopher tortoise recipient site on your property!

Learn more about Gopher Tortoise Recipient Site Permits

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 [email protected].

Dead tortoise: Report sightings of dead gopher tortoises on FWC’s mortality web application and provide information on cause of mortality, if known. 

Please report illegal activities or potential tortoise violations to FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at (888) 404-3922