The Desert Tortoise of Valley of Fire State Park
The desert tortoise is a rare site at Valley of Fire and if you are fortunate enough to see one, please keep in mind that it is unlawful to touch, harm or harass these wonderful creatures. The desert tortoise makes it’s home in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.
The desert tortoise population is very slow to grow. Female desert tortoises do not reproduce until they are approximately 15-20 years old. Survival into adulthood is only about 2-3 hatchlings per 100. The desert tortoise has a long list of predators including; ravens, Gila monsters, kit foxes, roadrunners, and coyotes.
The desert tortoise is an herbivore (plan eater) and primarily feeds on grasses, but also eats wildflowers, herbs, and cactus growth. The desert tortoise can store water for long periods of time in its bladder and access it when needed. The desert tortoise is able to go up to a year without access to water.
The desert tortoise lives in burrows and hibernates between November and February each year. The desert tortoise may also hide in its burrow during the heat of the day in the summer months.