A gopher tortoise ambles along the Launch Pad 39B beach road on NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Gopher tortoises are dry-land turtles that live in scrub, dry hammock, pine flatwood, coastal grassland and dune habitats. The undeveloped property on Kennedy Space Center is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Currently, gopher tortoises are protected in some states by federal law under the Endangered Species Act ESA. The refuge provides a habitat for 14 species federally listed as threatened or endangered, including the leatherback, green, Kemps Ridley, loggerhead and Atlantic hawksbill turtles. For information on the refuge, visit http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/Index.html. For more information on the gopher tortoise, visit http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/GopherTortoise/Gopher_Tortoise_Fact_Sheet.html. Photo credit: NASA/Daniel Casper