Red Rock Canyon A to Z

T: Tortoise

The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is brown with a high-domed shell and stocky, scaly limbs. These animals can grow eight to twelve inches long and live up to 80 years old. Desert tortoises are found throughout the Mojave Desert along gravelly soils and graze on a variety of plant material. Wild sightings at Red Rock Canyon are rare, so if you see one consider yourself lucky. One tortoise easy to see from April to October is Mojave Max. He lives in an outside pen, adjacent to another pen that houses female tortoises behind the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center. From November to March, the tortoises typically are in a type of hibernation called brumation and aren’t seen much. The desert tortoise is on the endangered species list and is considered a threatened species. There are laws that protect these tortoises. Please do not touch, harass, collect, kill, feed or move desert tortoises unless they are in imminent danger (i.e. about to get hit by a vehicle).

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