The epithet berlandieri is in honor of the Belgian naturalist Jean Louis Berlandier, who worked for the Mexican government on one of the first biological surveys of Texas. As such, some sources refer to it as Berlandier's tortoise.
The Texas tortoise, unlike other species of gopher tortoise, are not adept burrowers. Its preferred habitat is dry scrub and grasslands. Succulent plants, a preferred food of the Texas tortoise, are common in these areas. They especially like the fruit of cacti such as the prickly pear.
Though considered an animal of low concern by the IUCN Red List, the Texas tortoise is listed as a threatened species in the state of Texas, and thus protected by state law. It is illegal to collect or possess them.