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Desert Tortoise

Gopherus agassizii

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We also have a collection of Desert Tortoise pictures.


Approximately 95% of a Desert Tortoises life is spent underground in its burrows. Because of this it has become very good at digging into the ground. It is also on the endangered species list.

Desert Tortoise Picture
Lifespan: 80 to 100 years
Estimated Size: 9" to 15" long, 4" to 6" tall, 8lbs to 15lbs
Natural Location: Deserts of south-west USA and northern Mexico

Feeding & Water

Desert Tortoises will get their main food supply from any grass, weeds and dandelions that it finds in your yard. As long as these have not been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizer they will be safe for your tortoise. You can also feed them a supplement of vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini and romaine lettuce.

Turtles have a relatively high calcium requirement, so it is best to sprinkle their food with a calcium supplement every couple days.


Temperature & Lighting

Lighting should not be a major concern if you are housing your tortoise outdoors. It will get sufficient amount of direct sun rays this way, just ensure that it has an area of shade at all times. That way your desert tortoise will be able to decide when it wants to bask.

If you live in a region that is not as warm as where Desert Tortoises are from you will need to bring it in during the cold months or at least provide a house for it outside. If you are leaving it outside an area for your tortoise to burrow must be provided so they can escape the cold.



If you wish to have a healthy and thriving desert tortoise it must live outside in your yard. You can fence off a section of your yard for your tortoise, but it is best if you can allow it in the whole yard. Make sure all areas are escape-proof, and any pools are fenced off from your tortoise. Any poisonous plants must be removed from your yard and you will not be able to use pesticides on the lawn.


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