Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Gopherus polyphemus
Gopher Tortoise

Jasper Co., South Carolina
May 24, 1998

We were still basking in the glow of our first Eastern Diamondback, found crossing the road about an hour earlier.  It was late afternoon, and the sun was starting to slide towards the horizon.  We passed a 'clear-cut' area off to the right, and Ken asked to stop and take a picture of it.  Steve, Rick and I waited in the Blazer while Ken set up his tripod and wide angle lens to shoot the ugly remains of a timber harvest.  "Hey!" he shouted, hearing crackling and crunching noises in the brush on the shoulder of the road.  By the time the rest of us got out, he was hefting a large Gopher Tortoise!  We did the 'Diamondback Dance' and hour earlier, now we were doing the Gopher Tortoise Dance!  This specimen was a full-grown male.  We all set up cameras and grabbed some shots, the Gopher doing his best to get away; his limbs were incredibly strong!  We let him go and he trundled off, away from the shoulder into the pine woods.








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