75 Desert Tortoises Up for Adoption in Arizona
September 5, 2017 at 5:03 am
A desert tortoise can make a fascinating addition to the right Arizona backyard. | Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Desert tortoises make fun and non-traditional pets — and the Arizona Game and Fish Department has dozens that need new homes.
As The Arizona Republic reported last week, Game and Fish is searching for homes for 75 of the tortoises, most of which have been surrendered to the department by their previous owners. Some others were the product of illegal breeding, the department said. The tortoises are various ages and sizes, and some are only a few weeks old.
Because of the risk of spreading disease and disrupting genetic populations, tortoises that have been kept as pets can't be released back into the wild. They also can't be taken out of Arizona, which is one reason owners sometimes give them back to Game and Fish. It's illegal to collect tortoises from the wild, so if you're looking for a pet tortoise, this is the way to do it.
Permanent Arizona residents are eligible to adopt the tortoises and must submit an application, along with photos of where their tortoise will be kept, to the department. You can read more about the requirements for shelter, food and habitat in a packet Game and Fish has put together. Keep in mind that such a pet is a long-term commitment — desert tortoises can live to be 100 years old.