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Moving car can’t stop recovered desert tortoise seeking adoptive home

May 26, 2019 GMT

In a battle against a moving vehicle, a Sonoran desert tortoise is most certain to lose every time. While “Charlie,” a 20-plus-year-old tortoise, escaped with its life in this instance — albeit with a damaged shell that has healed — it’s now well enough to be adopted into a forever home.

As is “Hook,” another tortoise that needed surgery to amputate its right foot after being attacked by a dog. Today both are among the multiple tortoises seeking to provide slow doses of companionship to their caregivers and an opportunity to lovingly tend to the backyard of their adoptive homes.

“Tortoises are amazingly resilient animals,” said Tegan Wolf, AZGFD Tortoise Adoption Program coordinator. “While the Arizona Game and Fish Department strives to keep wildlife wild, captive desert tortoises cannot be released into the wild because they may spread diseases to wild populations. Because of this, we place dozens of adoptable tortoises into homes to live out their lives as lovable loyal companions.”


Contrary to many assumptions, desert tortoises can be interactive and provide companionship without as many demands as a cat or dog.

While Charlie and Hook are between 20 and 40 years old, dozens of other desert tortoises eligible for adoption vary in age and size. Arizona residents interested in providing an adoptive home to a desert tortoise can find an adoption application and packet with general information at www.azgfd.gov/tortoise. Those applying to adopt a tortoise will be contacted by the department once their application is reviewed and approved. Adopters need to have a securely enclosed yard or separate enclosure in their yard, free from potential hazards such as a dog, fire pit or unfenced pool. The enclosed area must include an appropriate shelter for the tortoise to escape Arizona’s extreme summer and winter temperatures.