The Texas tortoise (Gopherus berlandieri) is one of the most interesting reptiles found in Texas.
These very docile creatures are primarily vegetarian, although captive specimens have been known to eat meat. They feed heavily on the fruit of the common prickly pear and on other mostly succulent plants available to them. Although the life span is unknown, it is thought by some that breeding age is attained in about 15 years and that longevity may be as great as 60 years.
A low reproductive rate, historic heavy exploitation by pet suppliers, and other factors have led to a severe population decline of the species. This has resulted in its being listed in 1977 as a protected nongame (threatened) species, thus affording protection from being taken, possessed, transported, exported, sold, or offered for sale.
Credit: Description and photograph are property of Texas Parks and Wildlife.