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Desert Tortoise Adoption

 Under the authority of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Nevada Department of Wildlife, Tortoise Group has performed adoptions of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in Nevada for many years. This program ensures that the conditions for a tortoise are safe and offer a healthy environment.

Tortoise Group adopts to Residents of Nevada

If you live in the following states click on the state to visit the appropriate adoption program.

Is it legal to possess a desert tortoise since they are protected as a threatened species?

Yes, but only if it is a captive pet. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nevada Department of Wildlife protect tortoises born after the desert tortoise was placed on the Endangered Species List on August 4, 1989. It is illegal to harass or collect wild tortoises. Leave wild tortoises wild!

A desert tortoise is legally held in captivity if:

  • The tortoise was acquired before August 4, 1989. Their progeny are also held legally.
  • The tortoise was adopted officially through the Tortoise Group Adoption Program approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

About pet desert tortoises

  • A desert tortoise must live outdoors. In Northern Nevada you will need a small insulated area for winter.
  • A desert tortoise must have a well-insulated burrow.
  • A desert tortoise must be fed a diet of edible plants supplemented with a good tortoise chow.
  • A breeding pair of desert tortoises must be separated.
  • Caring for a tortoise is a long-term commitment; they can live to be 80-100 years old!
  • For new adoptions, each household is limited to one desert tortoise.

Traditional Adoption

Tortoise Group will help you become the custodian of a desert tortoise by advising you in creating a healthy tortoise habitat and placing a needy tortoise in your home.

  • Yard Consultations are done in areas around Las Vegas. In Northern Nevada we’ll work through sending pictures.
  • There is an Adoption Fee in total of $75. At the Yard Consultation there is a charge of $10 for members or $20 for nonmembers that is applied to the Adoption Fee. The remainder is collected when the tortoise is adopted.

To begin a Traditional Adoption please fill out an adoption application.