PHOENIX — Wanted: Forever homes for more than 100 Sonoran desert tortoises that can grow to 14 inches and live as long as 100 years.
Due primarily to illegal breeding, Arizona Game and Fish Department officials said they have several tortoises of various ages and sizes available for adoption.
Tegan Wolf, desert tortoise adoption program coordinator for the department, said only one tortoise can be adopted per person and per household.
But an additional tortoise of the same sex can be adopted if it’s placed in a completely separate enclosure as the reptiles can be territorial.
Wolf said Arizonans interested in adopting should review the Tortoise Adoption Program page on the Game and Fish Department’s website.
It also covers how to properly care for a desert tortoise, including instructions on how to build a burrow.
Adopters must have a securely enclosed yard and construct a burrow to protect the tortoise from potential hazards such as a fire pit, unfenced pool or dogs.
The enclosed area must include an appropriate shelter for the tortoise to escape Arizona’s extreme summer heat and a place to brumate during winter. That’s a seasonal period of inactivity similar to hibernation.