One local veterinarian had a bit of a surprise when he figured out that a pet brought into his office was a protected species.
The Texas Tortoise, or Gopherus berlandieri, was found and taken in as a pet. The family who found it didn’t know the tortoise was protected, and took it in to get checked out because they were concerned for the animal’s health.
The Texas Tortoise was placed on the protected species list in 1977, meaning they can’t be kept, sold or traded.
Texas Parks and Wildlife says the animals do bite, and anyone who finds one should not try to move it or take it home.
“Let it get back to nature,” says Cpt. Ben baker with TPWD. “Don’t pick it up, don’t try to relocate it, definitely don’t take it home. Just enjoy it and let it have its place.”
The Texas Tortoise is the only tortoise seen in the wild in Texas.
For more information, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website here.