Scientific Name: Gopherus agassizii
Desert tortoises range between 10 to 14 inches. Their shells are high-domed, and are greenish-tan or dark brown in color. Their front limbs are flattened for digging and are sharp with claw-like scales.
Desert tortoises can live in places exceeding 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, the species can range from Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah. Their main habitat consist of Joshua tree woodland, Mojavean desert scrub and also Sonoran desert scrub. The Mojave desert is a popular area where these tortoises inhabit.
Desert tortoises spend most of their lives in burrows. Mating season begins in the spring and fall and they hibernate during the winter months, November through February.
Threats & Status
Desert tortoise populations in some areas have declined by as much as 90% since the 1980s, and the Mojave population is listed as threatened. A potential threat to the desert tortoise’s habitat is the development of wind and solar farms. As a result, solar energy companies have been making plans for huge projects in the desert regions of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah.
The desert tortoise can live anywhere between 50 to 80 years old.