Today: Jul 11 , 2020

Adopt Your Very Own Desert Tortoise!

07 March 2017   AZ Game & Fish

100 desert tortoises are being offered by the Arizona Game and Fish Tortoise Adoption program.

PHOENIX – Nearly 100 desert tortoises will soon awaken from their winter slumber and the Arizona Game and Fish Tortoise Adoption program will be once again be looking for good adoptive homes. There is no charge to adopt a tortoise.

The desert tortoises up for adoption are a wide range of ages and sizes. AZGFD is accepting applications for those willing to provide a special home. Adoption application packets and general information can be found at

Adopters need to have a securely enclosed yard or separate enclosure in their yard, free from potential hazards such as a dog, fire pit or unfenced pool. The enclosed area must include an appropriate shelter for the tortoise to escape Arizona’s extreme summer and winter temperatures.

All of the desert tortoises eligible for adoption will be given health checkups before going to their new homes. Tortoises are only available for adoption to residents living within the species’ native range, which includes the Phoenix, Bullhead City, Kingman, Prescott, Lake Havasu, Tucson and Yuma areas.

Desert tortoises offer a unique alternative to more traditional family pets and can teach many of the same life lessons to children, including responsibility, compassion and commitment. Contrary to many assumptions, desert tortoises can be interactive and provide companionship without as many demands as a cat or dog.

Did you know?

  • Desert tortoises retreat into shelters to avoid midday heat and to hibernate in the winter.

  • Hibernating desert tortoises slow their metabolism to minimize energy loss.

  • A female desert tortoise lays clutches of 1-15 eggs, usually from April to August

  • Desert tortoise hatchlings are completely self-sufficient.

  • Desert tortoises are most active after rainfall.

  • Sonoran desert tortoises mostly live on rock hillsides, and use desert flats and washes as dispersal corridors.

  • Mohave desert tortoises mostly live on gentle slopes with creosotebush, and often dig their burrows in the open.

  • Desert tortoises live long, solitary lives, spending up to 95% of their lives in shelters.

  • Desert tortoises are 15-20 years old before they can reproduce.

  • Female desert tortoises can store sperm for more than five years.

  • Captive desert tortoises must not be allowed to breed because the captive population is too large already.

  • Desert tortoises are protected by law throughout their range

  • Desert tortoises can go a year without drinking by storing water in their bladder. 

  • Desert tortoise shelters are used by lizards, snakes, rodents and numerous insects.

Arizona hunting and fishing licenses are a great value. You can get combination hunting and fishing licenses for a family of four for less than the price of one night in a motel. Great Outdoors, Great Value!