Sydney and Sudie
Leaves, grasses, cacti, flowers
Gila Monsters, Kit Foxes, badgers, Fire Ants
California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Mexico
Desert Tortoises have high-domed, greenish to dark brown shells. Males are usually slightly larger than females. The front legs are covered in large, flattened scales for digging. As with all tortoises, Desert Tortoises have claws rather than webbed feet.
Desert Tortoises can live in areas with remarkably high temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 95% of their life is spent in underground burrows, either escaping the desert heat or hibernating over the winter. Adults may go more than 1 year without drinking water, but get moisture from the foods they eat.
Desert Tortoises are egg-laying reptiles. Females lay up to 7 eggs per clutch. The parents do not provide any additional care to their young, after building a nest burrow. Maturity is not achieved until the tortoise is 15 years old.
Ravens are the biggest threat to young tortoises. Habitat destruction and human encroachment into tortoise habitat is also contributing to the plight of the Desert Tortoise. Over-collection of these tortoises for the pet trade as well as re-release of former pet Desert Tortoises are threatening the survival of the species. It is illegal to touch, harm, harass or collect a wild Desert Tortoise. The only legal pet Desert Tortoise is one adopted through captive Desert Tortoise programs.
ANIMAL FUN FACT!
Desert Tortoises usually live their entire lives within 2 miles of where they hatched.