200 desert tortoises need new homes

(Source: National Park Service)
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 5:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Game and Fish Department has 200 Sonoran desert tortoises that are looking for their forever families.

According to a news release, tortoises of different ages and sizes are up for adoption, mostly due to illegal breeding.

Captive tortoises can grow to about 14 inches long and can live for up to a century.

They can’t be released into the wild because they could spread diseases to other wildlife, officials say.

“Many people don’t even consider opening up their homes to desert tortoises, but they make fantastic and personable pets,” AZGFD desert tortoise adoption coordinator Tegan Wolf was quoted as saying.

Adopters must have a securely enclosed yard or make an enclosure or a burrow to keep the tortoise from potential hazards, such as fire pits, pools or other animals.

The enclosure must have a shelter to allow the tortoise to escape from the extreme heat and a place to brumate, which is similar to hibernating, during the winter.

Only one tortoise can be adopted per person, but an additional tortoise of the same sex can be taken in if it’s kept in a separate enclosure.

Federal law prohibits these tortoises from being moved across state lines, and it’s also illegal to breed them.

“One female tortoise living to 80 years old can produce more than 800 babies in her lifetime,” Wolf was quoted as saying. “This is why it is crucial that we work together to ensure that tortoises are not only placed in proper homes, but with responsible owners.”

Arizona residents interested in adopting can find more information here.

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