The Living Desert
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Desert Tortoise

Desert Tortoise
tortoise emerging

Mojave Maxine Emergence Contest

Take part in our annual Mojave Maxine Contest and predict when she will make her 2018 debut. Students (K-12) in nine southern California counties have the opportunity to participate in the contest.

desert tortoise close up

About the Desert Tortoise

Desert tortoises have high-domed carapaces, round, stumpy hind legs and flattened, front legs covered with large rigid scales to protect them from moisture loss. A forward extension of the plastron – the gular shield – is longer in males than in females and the plastron is concave on males and flat on females.

baby tortoise

Information on Pet Desert Tortoises

Desert tortoises have survived in California’s deserts for thousands of years and play a vital role in the overall health of the desert. By knowing the facts about captive desert tortoises and the danger they can be to wild desert tortoises, you can help protect this vital species.

desert tortoise

Educator Information & Activities

The Desert Tortoise Information and Youth Education Program offers a variety of different ways to teach about desert tortoises in your classroom. By teaching students about these animals at a young age, desert tortoises will have a more promising future.

adopt a tortoise

Adopt a Tortoise

What is the Desert Tortoise Adoption Program: It is a program where captive-bred desert tortoises are adopted out to families and individuals. This program was started in conjunction with the California Department of Fish and Game, when the desert tortoise was listed as threatened.

raven close up

The Role of Ravens

Ravens are the largest members of the crow family. Renowned for their intelligence, they are associated in lore and legend with magic, mischief and darkness. In California’s deserts, however, ravens are better known as a major threat to the imperilled desert tortoise.

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