The Wildlife Center of Venice shared this information about Gopher Tortoises in its latest email newsletter. The Center regularly receives Gopher Tortoises. Two main causes of the injuries the tortoises experience are vehicle injuries or encounters with dogs. The carapace or shell of the tortoise provides a measure of protection against physical injury but is not impervious to breakage. The shell will attempt to heal itself and can also be treated with the application of patching material that will help the healing and protect against infection. Since the spinal cord is part of the shell, the chances of survival depend on where and how severe the damage is. If the spinal cord is severed, the animal will not survive. If you come across an injured turtle on the road, help the tortoise out of the road as quickly as possible and put them on the side to which they were headed. They are pretty single-minded about this and will turn around and head back across that road if moved to the wrong side. Tortoises are land animals, do not try to help them by putting them in a nearby pond as they can drown. If in doubt, put them by the water and let them decide. The Wildlife Center of Venice is a volunteer rescue and educational outreach group of volunteers located at 925 North Jackson Road in Venice. Learn more at wildlifecenterofvenice.org. If you have questions, call 484•9657.