Desert Tortoise Was Recognized And Accepted as the official State Reptile Of California in 1972 (California also recognizes a marine reptile symbol). The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Richard D. Hayden of Sunnyvale. Richard D. Hayden related that the idea was proposed to him by students at the Benjamin Bubb School in Mountain View. The Scientific Name of Desert Tortoise Is “Gopherus agassizi”.
Under a full head of steam, the California State Reptile desert tortoise, (Gopherus agassizi,) moves at a solid pace of about 20 feet per minute. This patient vegetarian has existed on Earth almost unchanged for millions of years. “Gopherus agassizi” is found in the southwestern desert areas of California where it now enjoys protected status as an endangered species.
The State Reptile Of California desert tortoise played a key role in the passage of the California Desert Protection Act in 1994. To protect the fragile desert habitat of the tortoise and other plants and animals, millions of acres were added to the national park and wilderness system. Supporters reportedly brought a desert tortoise to the White House for the bill signing.
Desert Tortoise is the largest reptile in the Southwestern United States. It lives in the extreme southern parts of Nevada. It’s hard, dome-shaped shell ranges from tan to black in color. This State Reptile Of California Desert Tortoise spends much of its life in underground burrows to escape the harsh summer heat and winter cold. The State Retail desert tortoise can live to be more than 70 years old.
Interesting Desert Tortoise Facts:
1. Desert tortoise is an herbivore (plant-eater). Its diet consists of available vegetation, usually of shrubs, grass, cacti and their flowers.
2. Desert tortoise has strong, heavily scaled front legs equipped with sharp claws that are used for digging of underground burrows. These animals spend more than 95% of their life under the ground.
3. Desert tortoises store water in the bladder. In the case of danger, turtles will release urine. Unfortunately, the turtle will die out of dehydration if it doesn’t find a new source of water to refill body reserves as soon as possible.
4. Main predators of desert tortoise are Gila monsters, foxes, coyotes, badgers, ravens, roadrunners and mountain lions. They usually hunt young desert turtles.
5. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 15 to 20 years. They lay 4 to 6 eggs from May to July. Eggs are shaped like ping-pong balls. The incubation period lasts 10 to 12 months. Only 2% of hatchlings reach adulthood.