Sonoran Desert Tortoise – Alpo

Name: Alpo – Male

Species: Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Liberty Arrival: 2000/Adult

Injury/Condition: Dog attack

Alpo, a Sonoran tortoise, was attacked by a dog and left in a box out front of Liberty by the previous owner on October 17, 2000. A dog had attacked the tortoise and the owner could not afford the vet bill to fix the 3-inch hole in its shell that exposed its lung. Eventually, scar tissue formed over the hole. Alpo has gone into hibernation normally each year. In 2014, a bladder stone was detected during his examination which eventually was removed in 2017.

Sonoran Desert Tortoise Facts:

Description: The Sonoran Desert Tortoise is one of two native species of desert tortoise in Arizona. The other species is the Mojave. Not to be confused with turtles, these tortoises are larger-bodied animals. They have short, broad, and club-shaped legs to help them move over desert terrain as compared to turtles that swim in water. They are able to withstand desert heat and periods of drought.

Habitat: The Sonoran Desert Tortoise is found only in the Sonoran Desert.

Range: is found in central and western parts of Arizona and northwestern Mexico, south and east of the Colorado River. This Desert Tortoise is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, due to habitat loss.

Life span: Tortoises can live 50 – 100 years.

Prey: Tortoises are mostly herbivorous, but occasionally eat invertebrates and carrion.

Nests: Breeding begins after the onset of the monsoon season, when eggs are laid near or inside a burrow.

Babies: Tortoises lay 3 – 12 soft-shelled eggs in a clutch. The eggs hatch somewhere between 70 – 120 days depending on the ambient temperature. Hatchlings break out of the shell using an egg tooth. Desert tortoises do not reach full maturity until 15 – 20 years.