Gopherus polyphemus, the Gopher tortoise;
Volusia county, Florida (18 June 2022).
One of Florida’s most precious species, this is the Gopher tortoise, a mid-sized tortoise that struts and burrows about our xeric habits — be they interior sandy ridges or coastal dunes. In short, if you see prickly pear cactus in Florida, there’s a decent chance some Gopher tortoises are holed up nearby. I delight every time I’m graced with a Gopher tortoise encounter.