STATUS: Endangered without critical habitat.|
DESCRIPTION: The desert tortoise has a high domed, tan-to-dark-brown shel, or carapace, just loke other tortoises. This provides protection from predators but not from all threats like cars and golden eagles.
HABITAT: The burrows of these tortoises are commonly found in dry, gravelly soil beneath creosote bushes or other large shrubs in open desrert, or in the banks or sandy loam siols of washes.
Present: Mostly same as below ut habiat has been reduced and highly fragmented. IT also extends into portions of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Norhtern Mexico.
THREATS AND/OR REASONS FOR DECLINE: Destruction of habitat by urabn development; mining and energy realted exploration and development; building of roadslivestock grazing; off-road vehicles; upper respiratory disease syndrome; predation by ravens attracted by dumps and sewage ponds nearby.
Historic: Once ranged throughout the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern\California and northern Mexico.
OTHER INFORMATION: Most of tortoises time is spent underground to escape extreme temperatues of the desert florr. They hibernate in winter and re-emerge in mid-march to diet on tender grasses, broad-leafed annuals, and new shoots of perennials that spring up in the sandy arroyos and rolling desert bajadas. Shallow basins are dug to catch the little rainfall there is, but desert tortoises can go for years with drinking water.
Life on the Edge. Biosystems Books 1994. Santa Cruz, California