Gopher tortoise struck by lawnmower

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

A gopher tortoise was among the 81 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.

The gopher tortoise was injured when she was struck with a lawnmower. Upon admission to the hospital, the tortoise was alert and responsive even though a portion of her shell was missing and she had a fracture along her carapace, plastron and bridge.

The portion of shell that was missing was large and extended down to the bridge and plastron. Gurgling noises were audible as the tortoise was breathing which indicated internal trauma. The injuries were too severe; euthanasia was the only humane treatment option for the tortoise. The loss of this tortoise was deeply saddening.

Please, always keep in mind that we share our living spaces with a wide variety of wild animals. Take time to learn what species are living in your yard and look out for them before performing landscaping activities. If you hire a lawn care service, inform them of what creatures you see in your yard to ensure they are aware and can avoid harming wildlife. Being aware of animals around us, often struggling to coexist in a world significantly altered by humans can literally stop needless suffering and death for scores of native wild animals in our Southwest Florida.

Recent Releases

A black and white warbler, a monarch butterfly, a raccoon, five eastern cottontails, a northern mockingbird, a swallow-tailed kite, three mourning doves, a blue jay, four chimney swifts, a common grackle and a mottled duck were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help

There are many ways to remain engaged and support the Conservancy. Become a member, donate and visit our website at Learn about the Conservancy’s work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.




Weekly blog from Joanna Fitzgerald, director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

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Conservancy of SWFL

Conservancy of SWFL

Protecting Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of and forever.

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