Get your yards ready because Arizona Game and Fish needs to find new homes for dozens of Desert Tortoises.
Native to the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts, it's high-domed shell, strong legs and thick claws make the Desert Tortoise one of a kind. In fact, no other tortoise in North America shares the extreme conditions of habitats occupied by the Desert Tortoise…and Arizona Game and Fish has more than 50 that need new homes.
“Ideally, since this is just a temporary housing facility, we don't want any so we are trying to adopt out every tortoise we have,” says Tegan Wolfe, Desert Tortoise expert.
Wolfe says excessive backyard breeding means the species has become overpopulated. Some escape, some are surrendered and they all need permanent homes.
“We can’t release them into the wild unfortunately because they can have upper respiratory infection parasites and stuff like that that our wild tortoises don't have and it can affect their population… actually bring it down, so we want to keep them in captivity,” says Wolfe.
Caring for a Desert Tortoise is relatively easy. Their diet consists of Bermuda grass and other greens like lettuce, kale, and even cilantro.
The most important thing if you're looking to adopt is a burrow....like the ones here.
“We do recommend that you dig down about six to eight inches and put concrete,” says Wolfe. “They'll dig not as much as the big tortoises you see at the zoo, but they will dig a little bit. You don't want them to dig out under fences and stuff like that.”
“You do kind of have to show us pictures of your burrow… stuff like that,” Wolfe says. “You have to build them yourself, you know, the tortoises don't do it themselves.”
Desert Tortoises can live to be 80-years-old and about 15 pounds and Wolfe each and every single one has a very different personality, which make them all great pets.
The adoption event will take place September 5th, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., but you have to be pre-approved. So if you're interested, log on to the Arizona Game and Fish website. There is no adoption fee.