Native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, adult desert tortoises can survive for up to a year without water, by eating desert grass and wildflowers. With the possibility of living over the age of 100, one would think every desert tortoise has the chance to live a long and healthy life, but this is not the case.
The desert tortoise is currently listed as a threatened species and is federally protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Development is the biggest threat to wild desert tortoises and we should try our best as a community to share our space with these friendly reptiles. Local organizations, such as the Tortoise Group out of Las Vegas, provide resources and support on handling wild and domestic desert tortoises. Removing wild desert tortoises from their environment without a special permit provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is against the law. However, desert tortoises that were previously fostered may be adopted through several local agencies.
If your family is currently caring for a desert tortoise, please contact the Tortoise Group or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for Clark County. Desert tortoises are fostered by families throughout Boulder City, and would surely tell you that they are truly amazing animals. “Lost in Boulder City, Oct. 10, 1945” was the inscription painted on the shell of that first curious tortoise. If you see him around, give us a call.
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