Arizona Game and Fish Desert Tortoises Up For Adoption

May 29, 2019

Once a desert tortoise is placed in captivity, it cannot be released back into the wild.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

If you live in the state of Arizona, and are considering a tortoise for a family member, Arizona Game and Fish has more than 12 desert tortoises up for adoption.

“Tortoises are amazingly resilient animals,” Tegan Wolf, Tortoise Adoption Program coordinator, said in a statement released by the AGF. “While the Arizona Game & Fish Department strives to keep wildlife wild, captive desert tortoises cannot be released into the wild because they may spread diseases to wild populations. Because of this, we place dozens of adoptable tortoises into homes to live out their lives as lovable loyal companions.” 

Those wanting to adopt a tortoise, which are of varying ages and sizes, must have a securely enclosed yard or secure enclosure in the yard that is free from potential hazards such as swimming pools, fire pits, or dogs. The enclosure must include a shelter that enables the tortoise to stay safe during the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter.

Desert Tortoise Adoption Application

The tortoises available for adoption have either been surrendered to the department or were injured and brought in for care. Once in captivity, these reptiles can no longer be released into the wild due to the potential for them to introduce disease to wild populations of tortoises. 

Each tortoise is checked out by a veterinarian to ensure good health. For more information, visit the Arizona Game & Fish website.

Desert tortoises are protected throughout their range, which includes the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts in Southern California, to Arizona, Nevada and areas in Mexico. The tortoises grow to about 8 to 10 pounds and eat weeds and leafy weeds in the wild.

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