Guess what!! We are camping in central Florida and look who lives right behind us!!
We call him Joseph, because the pattern on top of his shell kind of looks like Egyptian artwork and Joseph in the Bible went to Egypt. His full name is Joseph Lettuce Burrow.
He comes out to sun himself or eat. He usually has a reason for coming out so we try no to disturb him.
He moves by lifting himself up on his strong paws and then walks along.
We think he's cute when he eats because he has a little pointed tongue.
He is actually a "Gopher Turtle" and is on the protected list. He is called a Gopher Turtle because he burrows into the ground like a gopher. When we first got to camp one of the other campers told us that he likes lettuce so we fed him a few times and even touched him. We later found out that feeding him is not a good idea because when we leave he may forget how to find food for himself. It's also not a good idea to touch them so that they lose their fear of humans because not all humans will treat them with respect.
Gopher Turtles live in colonys and are happy to share their burrow with other species in times of crisis such as wild fires or flooding. Joseph has some friends not too far from us. One day one of them came to visit Joseph. He was huge. We think it may have been Joseph's dad. Or maybe his grandpa. They do live to be 60-100 years old!