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Gopher tortoises don’t swim. Don’t help them into the ocean

Gopher tortoises don’t swim. Don’t help them into the ocean

State wildlife officials say some well-meaning Floridians have been endangering tortoises by helping them into the ocean.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it’s received at least three recent reports of good Samaritans incorrectly releasing gopher tortoise hatchlings.

The problem: Gopher tortoises aren’t sea turtles; they live on land, don’t swim well and drown easily.

Unlike sea turtles, which have flippers, gopher tortoises have claws on each toe. Sea turtles only have one or two claws.