Wisdom From The Experts Pt 4 & 5 Two Turtle and Tort experts, two related pieces of wisdom to share about turtle and tortoise anatomy! Lori Neuman-Lee, PhD (@CheloniaGirl ), prof at Utah State University, says – “I wish people knew that turtles can’t come out of their shells…because their shells are part of their...
Words of Wisdom from the Experts Pt 3- “I wish people knew how smart turtles are. They learn quickly where their food comes from; if from a human then they learn that specific person” Is what Michelle Kelly (@MichelleKellyCW), public speaker about Reptiles and amphibians, wishes more people knew about turtles and tortoises. Those of...
Words of wisdom from the experts pt 2 Check out this INCREDIBLE photo by Amanda Hipps, @biophilamanda, one of the experts who responded to our #worldturtleday question. Amanda studies the animals that live in gopher tortoise burrows. In case you didn’t know, gopher tortoise burrows are home to hundreds of other animals. Their status as endangered directly...
This year, in honor of #WorldTurtleDay, we asked herpetologists, biologists, rescues, and rehabbers, to tell us what they wish more people knew about Turtles and Tortoises. Starting today we’ll be sharing a few responses a day! Let’s learn more about the animals we love from people who have devoted their lives to protecting them. Biologist...
Once believed to be a single species for 150 years a study in 2011 concluded that the desert tortoise is actually two distinct ones divided by the Colorado River in Arizona. The Agassiz’ desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), pictured on top, resides west and north of the river in northern Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California. This is the originally recognized species. The new one is Morafka’s desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai), pictured in the middle, whose home is east and south of the river into Mexico, of which is less studied outside of the US. A map is provided above to show each tortoise’s range. Although they look indistinguishable from the untrained eye differences in life history and reproductive strategies have been observed.
“The two species have different habitat preferences,” says Kristin
Berry, a United States Geological Survey biologist who has studied
desert tortoise biology for more than 40 years and is a coauthor on the
study. “Morafka’s tortoise prefers to hide and burrow under rock
crevices on steep, rocky hillsides, while the Agassiz’s tortoise prefers
to dig burrows in valleys.”
Live in Nevada? Now you can show your support for the incredible desert tortoise with your very own Respect & Protect license plate!
(Via Reptile Magazine)
The special Nevada desert tortoise license plate is now available for order. Proceeds from the sale will benefit conservation efforts of the species.
Mojave Max was a desert tortoise who lived at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada. In addition to helping educate children of Nevada, he was the representative of the Clark County Desert Conservation Program, and the West Coast’s answer to Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, the sometimes unreliable mammalian weather protector.
The special plate costs just $62 for a standard plate and $97 for a personalized plate, with $25 of that going to support desert conservation measures. More information is available on the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicleswebsite.
Tripod had a rough go around with a dog leaving him with severe injuries. Thanks to the vets at the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital, a lengthy surgery to amputate a front leg, and lots of rehabilitation, he’s recovered and ready for adoption!
Tripod’s story has a happy ending but that’s not always the case when it comes to encounters between tortoises and dogs.Many don’t realize that tortoise shells have a similar scent to raw hide and that makes them seem like prime chomping material.
“When this tortoise was brought into the veterinary clinic, the damage was so severe that it’s left front leg needed to be immediately amputated,” said Tegan Wolf, AZGFD Tortoise Adoption Program coordinator. “Tripod has since recovered nicely and gets around perfectly fine on three legs.”
As you can see, Tripod is back to dominating all the land he stomps on. He and many other desert tortoises, of varying ages, are in need of forever homes as part of Arizona’s desert tortoise conservation efforts. These tortoises are unable to be released into the wild but have long lives to lives to live.
Adopters need to have a securely enclosed yard or separate enclosure in their yard, free from potential hazards such as a dog, fire pit or unfenced pool. The enclosed area must include an appropriate shelter for the tortoise to escape Arizona’s extreme summer and winter temperatures.
Watch a Desert Tortoise Hatchling Release in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
This hatchling, like many Mojave desert tortoise hatchlings, lost its way among residential areas in Washington County- especially during monsoon seasons. BLM biologists continue to complete clearance surveys to ensure hatchlings found in these developmental areas can be relocated to Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, a tortoise habitat protection area. Successful transitions of hatchlings to sites such as Red Cliffs Desert Reserve are all in the result of teamwork from the community and a variety of agencies that continue to support the wellbeing of the tortoise population. Watch this little guy take his first steps back in his BLM-managed habitat!
Learn more about Fish and Wildlife in the BLM here!