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‘Life in the Slow Lane’ and other tortoise tales Sunday at Archbold

‘Life in the Slow Lane’ and other tortoise tales Sunday at Archbold

544554b651e5c.imageVENUS —Archbold Biological Station will welcome the public to a special presentation about the natural history and behavior of gopher tortoises at 2 p.m. Sunday. Known by some simply as “gophers,” these long-lived reptiles are the only tortoise found in the eastern United States.

Their deep burrows provide homes for dozens of other species, also earning them the nickname “landlords of the scrub.”

Dr. Betsie Rothermel will answer common and not-so-common questions about the tortoises. “People may be surprised to learn how complex the social life of a gopher tortoise can be,” says Rothermel, “and how many other scrub animals depend on tortoises and their burrows.”

Dr. Rothermel has been conducting research on tortoises, frogs, and salamanders for the past 16 years. She is the Director of the Herpetology and Restoration Ecology Programs at Archbold Biological Station.544554b68f6e0.image

Archbold researchers use a variety of techniques to study gopher tortoises, including radio-tracking and motion-sensor cameras that record tortoise activities and interactions at their burrows. Past researchers began marking and following individual tortoises in 1967, making Archbold the site of the longest running tortoise population study in the southeastern United States. Rothermel and program interns still cross paths with previously marked tortoises that are now 40 to 50+ years old.

This lecture is the second of a series of special public events being held at Archbold. Beginning at 2 p.m. in the Learning Center at Archbold Biological Station, Dr. Rothermel will give a 45-minute presentation based on her fascinating research. This event is geared toward anyone (ages 12 and up) with an interest in learning more about our native wildlife.
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The Archbold picnic area will be available beginning 11 a.m. for those who wish to bring lunch.

Archbold Biological Station is open to the public, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located about eight miles south of Lake Placid, 1.8 miles south of State Road 70 on Old State Road 8.