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California desert tortoise care

Is it legal to own a desert tortoise in California?

While there is no legal limit to the number of desert tortoises a California resident may possess in state, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife strongly discourages having males and females together in captivity or breeding captive desert tortoises.

What is the best bedding for a desert tortoise?

Substrate Natural soil (outdoors) or compacted organic topsoil are preferred. Alternatively a mix of cypress mulch and coconut fiber bedding can be used. Avoid reptile barks, wood shavings, sand, and gravel as these can be accidentally ingested and the dust they contain can cause respiratory irritation.

What should I feed a desert tortoise?

Growing native grasses, wildflowers, grass, weeds, dandelions, alfalfa (in moderation), nopales (Opuntia cactus), mulberry tree leaves, grape leaves, common cheese mallow and other mallows, chickweed, nut grass, and (for treats) rose petals, nasturtium and hibiscus flowers are excellent food sources.

What is the lifespan of a desert tortoise?

Once they reach adulthood, desert tortoises can live between 30-50 years in the wild, and sometimes up to 80 years. Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction desert tortoises are struggling for survival.11 2021 .

How hot is too hot for desert tortoise?

The critical maximum body temperature is between 103 degrees F and 112 degrees F (39 degrees C to 44 degrees C) (Brattstrom 1965, Naegle 1976).1 . 2009 .

Can desert tortoise eat carrots?

Vegetables, especially dark green, leafy vegetables, can be used for the remaining 20 percent of a desert tortoise's diet, as they're rich in vitamins and minerals. Suitable vegetables include carrots, green beans, endive, kale and turnip greens.26 . 2017 .

Do tortoises like to be held?

Tortoises do not generally enjoy being handled. Care should be taken to avoid dropping your tortoise whilst handling. They have very strong legs, so support your tortoise firmly at all times whilst handling.

Do tortoises recognize their owners?

Tortoises are affectionate creatures, and they readily recognise their owners.23 . 2011 .

Is it cruel to keep a tortoise as a pet?

Be warned. A tortoise can be an exhausting and difficult pet fearless and adventurous, with complex moods and needs, a will of iron, moves like greased lightening and the potential to cause intense anxiety.29 2017 .

How much sunlight does a desert tortoise need?

UVB is essential for tortoises to synthesize Vitamin D. The best source of UVB is the sun; allowing the tortoise to be outdoors for 30 minutes or more a day is ideal.11 . 2019 .

How often should you feed desert tortoises?

For the first year sulcatas should be fed daily,thereafter 3 times weekly. Remembering this tortoise comes from the sub-Sahara where habitat is semi-desert and where food is not always plentiful. Overfeeding these enormous eaters in captivity will cause problems.

Can you own a turtle in California?

Turtle and tortoise laws and regulations for California. 1. It is unlawful to sell, purchase, harm, take, possess, or transport any native tortoise (Gopherus). Non-natives are legal.

How can I legally own a desert tortoise?

A desert tortoise may be legally possessed in California only under the authority of a permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The department may issue a permit for the possession of a desert tortoise provided the tortoise was legally acquired.

What should you not feed a desert tortoise?

Do not feed tortoises frozen vegetables or sodium-rich foods including canned vegetables, dairy products, breads and celery. Please exercise caution to ensure that captive tortoises cannot consume toxic plants such as oleander, chinaberry trees, tree tobacco and toadstools.

How do you care for a desert tortoise?

In order to thrive, adult desert tortoises must be kept outdoors in a large area. They should be provided with shelter from the sun and cold, and a place to retire at night. They need plenty of room to exercise and browse. If possible, give them the run of your entire yard.

What is the best diet for a desert tortoise?

A desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) diet is comprised mainly of safe grasses and weeds, leafy greens, with small amounts of hard vegetables and moist fruits.

Are Sulcata tortoises legal in ca?

Although sulcata tortoises are legal, in California, there is one tortoise that is illegal to own. The Desert tortoise is the only tortoise species illegal to own as a pet in California.

Is California tortoise endangered?

The desert tortoise is a threatened species under the California state Endangered Species Act in 1989 and the federal Endangered Species act in 1990. Illegal collection for the pet trade, destruction of their habitats by urban area expansion and off-road vehicles, and increased predation by ravens are some of the factors contributing to the desert tortoise's decline.



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