Sonoran Desert Tortoise – Speedy

Name: Speedy – Male

Species: Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Liberty Arrival: 2011/Adult

Injury/Condition: Dog attack

Speedy is a Sonoran desert tortoise that was admitted to Liberty Wildlife on March 18, 2011. His age was estimated to be seven years at the time. His left front leg had been damaged by a dog causing the amputation of that leg. He recovered nicely, gaining 3 pounds during his two-year recuperation period. He moved so easily and quickly that he earned the name “Speedy” and became a member of the Liberty Education team.

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.