This gopher tortoise ran out of the back driveway into this thicket.
This Gopherus polyphemus is hard to see in there. Continue reading
Pictures of Gretchen Quarterman with the planted longleaf (Pinus palustris)
by John S. Quarterman for Okra Paradise Farms, Lowndes County, Georgia, 17 April 2012.
Almost all of them survived the prescribed burn, and many of them are quite tall. The planted little bluestem and big bluestem are also thriving, along with native verbena, and some less savory invasive exotics, including trash along the road. Plus Gretchen’s favorite: dog fennel! And along the fence row cedars, pecans, plums, grapes, wild cherry, and a gopher tortoise. Here’s a flickr slideshow:
Video by John S. Quarterman, Coppage Road, Lowndes County, Georgia, 18 August 2011.
To find a way through the fence.
It’s probably this gopher.
The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is named for its burrowing skills. Its shovel-shaped forefeet dig burrows up to 40 feet long that shelter and house not only tortoises, but a virtual zoo. By one count, an astonishing 362 animals take refuge in these burrows, from gopher frogs and burrowing owls to an array of snakes and invertebrates, some species depend entirely on them. If we lacked the scientific concept of a keystone species–one with an impact far beyond that expected from its numbers–we’d need to create it for the gopher tortoise, given its importance in the longleaf forest ecosystem.
Picture of Gopherus polyphemus front porch by John S. Quarterman, Lowndes County, Georgia, 19 February 2011.
Fire forest, yes! But they forgot to mention Smilax: catbriar, greenbriar, those vines that like to catch you in the woods.
Thanks to Gary Stock for the tip.
So it could get back to digging.
More pictures in the flickr set.
I noticed this gopher because the dogs kept yipping and running over to where she was. She eventually crawled off into the underbrush and went under, as you can see.
The pictures were taken with a wireless Ethernet camera, recorded by software run out of crontab every minute. The recording ends when it started to rain and I took the camera in.
Pictures by John S. Quarterman, Lowndes County, Georgia, 16 September 2009.