Not long ago, I was speaking to a wildlife biologist about the endangered Desert Tortoise, what an incredible species. As an expert she explained all the idiosyncrasies with this “baby dinosaur” as she called them, about their burrows, choice of food, ability to blend in, along with its predators such as the desert fox, and the road runners and black crows which eat tortoise eggs when they can find them. Unfortunately, amongst the predators, we can also add mankind, you see off roaders and people not paying attention often run them over, accidentally of course.
She explained there was a special sanctuary to help these creatures that had survived accidents with ATVs, Sand Rails, and even utility work trucks working out in the desert on high tension power lines. Of course the desert tortoises often walk out on the highway too, which is a sure way to become road kill. It is amazing how long these creatures live, and therefore they can make nice pets, whereas a dog or cat doesn’t live that long so you keep having to deal with their demise and go get another to comfort you.
Still, make no mistake these are independent creatures, they are reptiles, and you can see that ancient DNA as they move about. Now then, you are not allowed to commandeer a desert tortoise from the wild to make a pet, but if you live in the desert they might make their home on your property because there is water, vegetation to eat, and shade. Might as well make them at home if you are looking for a pet, but before you do there are things you should know first. Let me recommend a very good book for you to read;
“Tortoise Care: A Guide from a Veterinarian on Caring for Your Tortoise – Make Your Tortoise Live for 50 Years or More” by Donald Wilson, Binders Publishing House, 2012, 23 pages, (digital version) ASIN: B007Z3SQCE.
Although this is a short book, it is quite good, well written and all the facts you need to know to make your desert tortoise feel at home, while keeping it healthy and happy, and understanding its safety concerns and food supply issues. Despite what you might think, carbon based bi-peds (humans) and tortoises go way back, and there is even ancient writing about these magnificent creatures.
Luckily, for you many are still writing about them today. This great book for instance, which will help reunite our species with theirs, because we go way back. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.