Protected gopher tortoise lays eggs in Florida family's front porch flower garden

When Michelle Koch took her dogs out the front door of her Timucuan home in Lake Mary, Florida, the last thing she expected was an encounter with one of the state's best-known protected animals. But that's exactly what she got.

Koch says, "My older dog started rushing to one side and I had to pull him back real quick. And then, all of a sudden, I see dirt flying and I realized it's a gopher tortoise digging a hole in my yard."

She went back inside and grabbed her family. When they came back out, the tortoise was laying its eggs. Koch says the soon-to-be momma tortoise, was done and gone within 15-20 minutes.

She now has a makeshift barrier around the nest to protect it from kids, dogs and predators. Internet research tells her the gopher tortoise hatchlings should emerge from those eggs sometime from late August to mid-September.