Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Desert Tortoises

Early in February I attended a lecture at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum on the desert tortoise. Having experienced them firsthand I do know quite a bit about them, but I’m always willing to learn more. Therefore, you can imagine my delight when I actually did discover things I didn’t know before.

You'll find a nice article on the desert tortoise here.

Other interesting facts:
-Males are bigger than females in maturity, they have a gular horn under their chins, longer tails, and a concave under-shell. (I knew all that except the longer tail.)
-You cannot tell the age of a tortoise by counting the rings on its shell.
-They are on the threatened species list.
-Burrow temperature determines the sex of the babies.
-The range for one tortoise is 2.5 acres.
-It’s illegal to even take old tortoise shells you find.
-During a drought they can reabsorb nutrients from their shell.
-Younger tortoises will eat scat for nutrients.
-Brumation in a reptilian term that is similar to hibernation.
-Native Americans invented a tortoise hook they used to pull tortoise from the burrow. Tortoises were used for food and tools. NOTE: This is now illegal.

For information on the lecture series at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum, go here.