this little fella is a gopher tortoise. our neighbors have two! i stand on the fence to catch a glimpse all the time, occasionally throwing a strawberry at them. the chickens always come over and steal them away, though. (yes, my neighbors also have chickens.)
i thought for sure they were gopher tortoises, a native "species of special concern." but certainly, you don't keep gopher tortoises as a pet. i found out the haps from balu the other day: some guy the neighbor knew got a permit to relocate the resident tortoises from a construction site. he said screw it, but you can take some if you want. so the neighbor took two and the fate of the rest is unknown. :(
the bigger of the two tortoises successfully burrowed under the neighbor's fence and is, at present, living it up, liberated-style. i saw the tortoise digging the burrow over the course of a few weekend.. rather, saw a very dug-out space. surprised the neighbor didn't think to do something about it.
there's a lady in MT i saw on a mailing list i'm on for redfoots that needs a new home for hers. i wrote her and she wrote back, saying florida would be a great place for him, but she's not comfortable shipping him. i haven't heard from her again.. but am hoping to. it turns out it's a 10-inch (grown-up) tortoise that she's had for a year... and it's a wild-caught. there's nothing i'd like than to give that tortoise a life as good as it would've had in nature as possible. but the lady has to write first! :~(
okee, off to get my oil changed!