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The Desert Tortoise

By: Alex Beaumier

Description:The Dersert Tortoise is a primary consumer and a herbivore. The tortoise has a domed shell, or carapace, that is greenish, dark brown, orangish beige or tan in color. Its front limbs have heavy, claw-like scales and their flat shapes are well-designed for digging. They weighs somewhere between 8 to 15 lbs.They ususally are 9 to 15 inches long, with a height of about 5 inches. Their favorite foods are grasses, herbs, some shrubs, cacti and thier flowers. Females dont mate until atleast 20 to 25 years old. Gestation: 10-12 months. Only 2 to 3 out of 100 eggs may become adults.

Common name - Desert tortoiseScientific name - Gopherus agassizii

Environment:The Desert Tortoise lives in the name, the Desert. The desert is very dry and has few vegetation.The Desert Tortoise live above and underground, depending on the climate and how it feels. If the tortoise is tired, it will make a burrow in the ground to stay cool, sleep and lower the risk of being eaten. The burrows they leave behind are often used again by different animals.

Problem:The Desert Tortoise is an endangered speices and very close to extiction. Poaching and driving off-highway vehicles within tortoise habitat continues to threaten tortoise populations. During the hottest part of the day, desert tortoises seek shade; and they sometimes find it under parked cars.

Solutions:Desert tortoises have lived in the deserts of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah since the Pleistocene. In the early years of the 20th century, they still thrived within the Southwest’s arid landscapes: As many as 1,000 tortoises per square mile once inhabited the Mojave. But by the end of the century, this population of the desert tortoise was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.Thanks to a lawsuit filed by the Center and Desert Survivors, in 2008 Fort Irwin officials suspended a disastrous desert tortoise translocation project that killed hundreds of the animals as part of “mitigation” for expanding the military base into tortoise habitat. The Army and Bureau of Land Management proposed a new translocation project in 2009 — but after tens of thousands of letters from Center supporters, the Bureau halted the project.

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