Floridians Are Accidentally Killing Tortoises By Mistaking Them For Sea Turtles

Floridians are sometimes unaware of the environment they live in. Most residents are from out-of-state and have little experience dealing with the wide array of flora and fauna that exist right outside their front doors. A recent example has well-meaning residents essentially murdering poor, innocent and especially land-loving gopher tortoises by mistaking them for water-dwelling sea turtles, according to the Associated Press.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported Friday that there were at least three instances last month of people “helping” gopher tortoise hatchlings to the ocean. Gopher tortoises cannot swim well and can easily drown.

Gopher tortoises lay eggs in dunes near the ocean, but lack the flippers to swim that sea turtles possess. When aspiring pseudo-marine biologists and George Costanzas throw gopher tortoises in the water, they generally float for a bit before dying a nightmarish death by drowning. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking residents to please stop killing local animals with their misguided love.