Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Amazing Desert Tortoise

Today, while hiking in the River Mountains, I came upon a juvenile Desert Tortoise. Up until now, I had come upon two tortoise in the wild, both times they were on the highway and I had to move them off of the roadway. This little guy was miles from the nearest highway within a mile or two of the crest of the River Mountains. This next photo shows what it looked like when I first saw it. Click on the photo for a close-up. Click a second time for even closer.
Of course, as you may know, these guys are protected because they are threatened. It is illegal to do anything but take photos. No touching or handling of any kind. If they are on the road, you can lift them onto a towel or car mat, just high enough to put them onto something that you can then drag slowly and carefully off of the road. Why is that, you say? Because they are not use to being up off of the ground and they can panic and expel the moisture in their bladder that can make up 40% of their body weight and can dehydrate and die in the hottest part of the summer.

My hand to show scale. I wear fingerless gloves to protect the back of my hands from the sun.

A tube of lip balm to show scale. Isn't it a cute little thing.

To view the video, click on the title, not the arrow.

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