Desert Tortoise Facts
Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
|25cm - 36cm (10in - 14in)|
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
|4kg - 7kg (8lbs - 15lbs)|
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
How long the animal lives for
|25 - 60 years|
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
|Black, Brown, Tan, Yellow|
The protective layer of the animal
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
|Sandy desert plains and rocky hills|
|Average Clutch Size:|
The average number of eggs laid at once
The food that the animal gains energy from
|Grasses, Herbs, Flowers|
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
|Coyote, Birds, Gila Monster|
Characteristics unique to this animal
|Small size and patterned shell|
Desert Tortoise Location
Map of North America
Desert TortoiseThe desert tortoise is a medium-sized species of tortoise that is found in the south-western desert regions of Northern America, and parts of northern Mexico. The desert tortoise is most commonly known for its high, patterned shell and the fact that is lives in burrows underground.
The desert tortoise is found inhabiting the vast sandy plains and rocky foothills that are in and surround both the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. When temperatures get too high for the desert tortoise it simply digs itself a burrow into the sand where it can remain cool until the heat dies down.
The desert tortoise has a number of biological adaptations that enable the desert tortoise to survive more successfully in such arid conditions. The front legs of the desert tortoise are heavy and flattened in shape. This complete with a set of claw-like scale means that the desert tortoise is an effective digger
As with other tortoise species, the desert tortoise is a herbivorous animal surviving only on organic plant matter. Grasses make up the majority of the desert tortoise's diet along with herbs, wild flowers and the rare fruits and berries that can be found.
Due to its small size, the desert tortoise has a surprising number of natural predators even despite its hard outer shell. Coyotes, feral cats, reptiles and birds of prey are the main predators of the desert tortoise along with the gila monster.
The average desert tortoise breeds twice a year, in the spring and again in the autumn. The female desert tortoise lays around 6 or 7 eggs although clutch sizes can be bigger or smaller. The ping-pong ball sized eggs of the desert tortoise usually hatch within a couple of months.
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Desert Tortoise Translations
Tortue du désert
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First Published: 18th January 2010, Last Updated: 10th September 2018
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3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 18 Jan 2010]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 18 Jan 2010]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 18 Jan 2010]