Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Georgia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Diemer, J. E., and C. T. Moore. 1994. Reproduction of gopher tortoises in north-central Florida. Pages 129-137 in R. B. Bury and D. J. Germano, eds. Biology of north American tortoises. National Biological Survey Fish and Wildlife Research 13.


We obtained data on the reproduction of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) in north-central Florida from 1981 to 1987. The smallest radiographed female tortoise with shelled eggs had a 232-mm carapace length. The overall mean clutch size was 5.80 (range 3-10) and did not vary significantly from those of tortoise populations on a sandhill site (5.73), a planted pine site (5.83), and a pasture site (6.50). Most mature females radiographed during mid-May to mid-June had shelled eggs. The mean egg diameter and clutch size increased with mean carapace length. Nests were in burrow mounds, sandy roads, or roadsides, and one each was found in a clear-cutting and in a scrub-oak thicket. Evidence of egg and hatchling depredation was observed.