Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center is home to more than wolfdogs. Among the resident animals that the center is licensed to care for are four gopher tortoises, which were rescued locally and will live out their lives at Shy Wolf.
The gopher tortoise is a keystone species that is native to the state of Florida. More than 350 species of wildlife take refuge in the tortoises’ burrows. While the reptile can live up to 40 to 60 years in the wild, the gopher tortoise is a threatened species and protected by law. Its primary threat is reduced habitat because of land-clearing and construction projects that damage or block burrows. Additionally, the animal has a high risk of road mortality.
The following are free educational materials and home-based, hands-on activities from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for parents and children to learn more about Florida’s native wildlife:
- Share a presentation: Download a PowerPoint presentation with photos and fun facts to share with your family. There is a script in the file to explain the images.
- Build a burrow: Encourage younger children to build their own burrow. Download complete instructions here.
- Plant gopher tortoise food: Learn more about native Florida plants that will feed gopher tortoises on your property.
- Become a citizen scientist: Download a mobile app to help the FWC document gopher tortoise populations.
Shy Wolf Sanctuary encourages you to report injured gopher tortoises to 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. Additional resources are available through CROW (239) 472-3644 (Lee) and The Conservancy of Southwest Florida (239) 262-0304 (Collier).
Shy Wolf Sanctuary offers complimentary educational programs to help Southwest Florida residents safely and peacefully coexist with wildlife. For more information or to request a speaker, CLICK HERE to email education.