California Desert Tortoise

turtle bay museum desert tortoise.jpg


We do not know his exact history; however, most likely someone captured him and kept him as a pet. He was malnourished and his shell became deformed, most likely due to a lack of calcium. It is hardened now, but the plastron is still not shaped correctly. He also had a respiratory disease common to captive desert tortoises and he cannot be released into the wild.

A few fun facts about California Desert Tortoise:
- The desert tortoise is able to live where ground temperature may exceed 140 degrees F, by burrowing into the sand. 
- 95% of a desert tortoise's life is spent in underground burrows.
- Desert tortoises can go an entire year without water. 
- Desert tortoise populations have declined by 90% since the 1980s. 
- Lifespan is about 80-100 years