A gopher tortoise was found in a shed behind a Bradenton apartment, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
A FWC officer went to a 12th Avenue West apartment building on April 11 after receiving a complaint that a resident was keeping a gopher tortoise there, according to an FWC report.
Gopher tortoises are a threatened wildlife species and are protected by state law, and it is illegal to possess them.
The officer found the gopher tortoise behind an apartment blocked by a blue tarp. Inside, the officer found three bowls of lettuce with the tortoise inside a pen, according to the report.
The tortoise was removed from the pen and placed in the officer’s vehicle.
In a complaint noted in the report, neighbors were told the man accused of keeping the tortoise was building a shed for his tools. However, when someone looked inside they found the tortoise lying on a particle board and called FWC.
A woman who lived with the man told officers that they saw the tortoise “wondering around” and picked it up because they “didn’t want it to get hurt,” according to the FWC report.
A notice to appear in Manatee County Court was left for the apartment resident for illegal possession of a gopher tortoise.