The Mojave population of desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) includes all tortoises north and west of the Colorado River in Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California. Listed as threatened in 1990, these tortoises are impacted by ongoing threats, including loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat due to development. They are also impacted by increased wildfire due to non-native invasive vegetation, disease, road mortality and predation of their eggs and hatchlings.
Location in Taxonomic Tree
Mojave population of desert tortoise lives in a variety of habitats from sandy flats to rocky foothills, including alluvial fans, washes and canyons.
Arid land with usually sparse vegetation.
The desert tortoise hibernates in burrows for up to nine months each year, and is most active from March to June and September to October.
The desert tortoise has a top shell is brown, gray or black, and the shell underneath is lighter.
The desert tortoise produces a variety of sounds - hisses, grunts, pops, whoops, huhs, echs, bips, etc.
The desert tortoise has a short tail, flattened front legs that are adapted for digging, elephant-like hind legs and a high-domed shell.
MeasurementsShell height: 4 to 6 inchesShell length: 8 to 15 inches
Adult tortoises weigh eight to 15 pounds.
Desert tortoises can live roughly 50 to 80 years, but take 13 to 20 years to reach sexual maturity.
The desert tortoise eat various herbs, grasses, cacti and wildflowers.
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