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In Florida, this turtle is very important. Why?


This is a Gopher Tortoise, and many animals depend on it. Gopher Tortoises dig burrows, and since they move around, they dig quite a few holes. Many creatures live in abandoned tortoise holes, and some actually move in and live with the tortoise. There are over 350 species that use Gopher Tortoise burrows. When so many organisms depend on one species, it is called a keystone species. In a stone arch, the stone at the top is the keystone. Without the keystone, the arch would collapse, and the same is true for a keystone species in the food web. If the Gopher Tortoise became extinct, many species would suffer.