Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

April 14, 2013


Harriet, our Gopher Tortoise

Yesterday afternoon, just as I was turning off my computer, our wayward wanderer finally graced us with her presence, after many months of complete absence.
Harriet is our resident Gopher Tortoise and she has become a sweet part of our family here in the Ocala Forest in Florida.
It seems that she comes out, just as the “snow birds” are all leaving and yesterday also happened to be our warmest day of the year so far, at just over 90 degrees.
We have learned so much about her particular species in the years we have spent with her.
She has had some very close calls and we have had to fight hard just to save her from a tragic ending on these occasions.
The world around her is not nearly as concerned for her safety as we are and we feel quite obligated to protect her from it.
Gopher Tortoises are an Endangered Species in Florida and it is against the law to harm them in any way, even picking them up and moving them is against the law.
But all of this is forgotten, when each spring, she pops back up out of her tunnel, ready to eat and greet us and the warm season ahead.
We have made sure that she has only what is good for her here, with everything left pretty much “natural” and no pesticides, no toxins or chemicals used in the front part of our property where her main tunnel is.
I say main, because she has a second one in the back where she goes occasionally, for reasons we have not yet determined.
Now we look forward to watching her the rest of the year, coming out to eat every day, moving slowly and carefully around, picking out just the special “weeds” that are her favorites.
Our entire property is fenced in, but the front part is just for her and our Airedale Breanna
and we are careful for both of their sakes, that it is safe from anything that could harm either of them.
We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to share our lives with them.

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