General Information

The Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) AKA The Gophers

The Gopher tortoise is included in the list of common pet tortoise because they are becoming more and more prevalent in the rescue. After taking the first one in Aug. 2019, more than expected followed. The Gopher tortoise is a Federally Protected species and permits are required to possesses any species of Gopher tortoise.

Northwest Tortoise is permitted by the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service to possess Gopher tortoises. The permit DOES NOT allow breeding, selling, returning or rehoming without express permission from the Service.

The Desert tortoise inhabits the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, southwestern Utah, southern Nevada, southeastern California and northwestern Arizona. Living primarily in burrows it digs, the tortoise spends 95% of its life underground.

The Desert tortoise is an important element of the ecosystem it inhabits as a keystone species. The burrows create habitats for up to 300 other animals and they are seed dispersers. Without them, the habitat would collapse.

Wildflowers, grasses and cacti make up the Desert tortoise’s natural diet.

If you have a Desert tortoise and need to rehome (with or without a permit) contact via the contact form.

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