Nearly 100 desert tortoises will soon awaken from their winter slumber and the Arizona Game and Fish Tortoise Adoption program will be once again be looking for good adoptive homes. There is no charge to adopt a tortoise.

The desert tortoises up for adoption are a wide range of ages and sizes. AZGFD is accepting applications for those willing to provide a special home. Adoption application packets and general information can be found at www.azgfd.gov/tortoise.

Adopters need to have a securely enclosed yard or separate enclosure in their yard, free from potential hazards such as a dog, fire pit or unfenced pool. The enclosed area must include an appropriate shelter for the tortoise to escape Arizona’s extreme summer and winter temperatures.

All of the desert tortoises eligible for adoption will be given health checkups before going to their new homes. Tortoises are only available for adoption to residents living within the species’ native range, which includes the Phoenix, Bullhead City, Kingman, Prescott, Lake Havasu, Tucson and Yuma areas.

Desert tortoises offer a unique alternative to more traditional family pets and can teach many of the same life lessons to children, including responsibility, compassion and commitment. Contrary to many assumptions, desert tortoises can be interactive and provide companionship without as many demands as a cat or dog.

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