TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Thinking about adopting a unique animal, long term? Then the Arizona Game and Fish Department has just the animal - a desert tortoise.
It's that time of year and AZGFD is anticipating some 50 desert tortoises will soon wake from their winter naps and all in need of a good adoptive home. There is no fee to adopt a desert tortoise, however there are a few things you need first.
A securely enclosed yard or separate enclosure in the yard that must be free from potential hazards, like a dog, a fire pit or an unfenced pool. The enclosed area must also include an appropriate shelter for the tortoise to escape hot temperatures in summer and cooler temperatures in winter.
According to AZGFD there are a wide range of ages and sizes of desert tortoises available for adoption and they are accepting applications for those willing to provide a special home for the long term. Reminder to potential adopters - healthy tortoises can live upwards of 80-100 years and they should have a long-term plan in place in either, a will or other succession plan as the tortoise may outlive its owners.
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.