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The Desert Tortoise of Joshua Tree – A Threatened Species

The Desert Tortoise of Joshua Tree – A Threatened Species

The Desert Tortoise of Joshua Tree – A Threatened Species

Desert tortoises are a threatened species that lucky visitors may get to see in Joshua Tree. Sadly, being hit by cars is a significant cause of tortoise mortality. Watch out for them as you drive park roads. Not all tortoises are as obvious as this one– young tortoises may be just a few inches long.

Only move a tortoise off a roadway as a last resort. If it does become necessary to move one, follow a few simple rules.

1. Don’t forget your own safety. Stop your car in a safe place along the roadside and be aware of other vehicles.
2. Pick up the tortoise so that it remains in its normal walking position, using both hands to hold it.
3. Keep it low.
4. Keep it slow.
5. Move it in the direction it was originally going.
6. Place it a short distance away from the road in a shady spot.

If moved incorrectly or if it becomes frightened, it may empty its bladder as a defense mechanism, losing stored water it needs to survive dry periods.

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[NPS/Sara Sutton; A tortoise along the road]

[NPS/Sara Sutton; A tortoise along the road]


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