Movement patterns and home range of the Gopher Tortoise
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): W. A. McRae; J. L. Landers; J. A. Garner
Publication Year: 1981

Cataloging Information

  • age classes
  • Aristida stricta
  • burning intervals
  • community ecology
  • distribution
  • fire dependent species
  • fire frequency
  • flatwoods
  • Georgia
  • Gopherus agassizii
  • Gopherus berlandieri
  • Gopherus polyphemus
  • habits and behavior
  • hardwood forests
  • Lespedeza bicolor
  • mesic soils
  • Panicum ramosum
  • pine forests
  • Pinus palustris
  • population density
  • Pteridium aquilinum
  • Quercus incana
  • Quercus laevis
  • Quercus margaretta
  • Quercus pumila
  • reproduction
  • sandhills
  • season of fire
  • seasonal activities
  • soils
  • temperature
  • threatened and endangered species (animals)
  • vulnerable species or communities
  • wildlife food habits
  • wildlife habitat management
  • xeric soils
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 40209
Tall Timbers Record Number: 14955
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-A
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Movement patterns and home ranges of gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) in southwestern Georgia varied seasonally and were determined largely by social interaction. Adults congregated in breeding colonies on droughty sites in early spring. During spring and summer, females were more sedentary than males; burrow preferences and movements of males were largely determined by mate-seeking and hierarchial behaviors. Individuals began to disperse from breeding colonies by late summer and about half moved to adjacent autumn-winter range on more mesic soils, likely due to the better food supply. Adults used a minimum of three burrows during an activity season ([x¯] = four for females, seven for males) and did not co-occupy burrows overnight. Juveniles typically moved short distances and used only 1 or 2 burrows, but usually left the vicinity of breeding colonies before or during the years as subadults. This dispersal is apparently an important mechanism for adding young adults to sparsely populated colonies and for forming new colonies. © The American Midland Naturalist. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
McRae, W. A., J. L. Landers, and J. A. Garner. 1981. Movement patterns and home range of the Gopher Tortoise. American Midland Naturalist, v. 106, no. 1, p. 165-179.