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Want a tortoise ? Several that can’t live in the wild available for adoption

Molly Hudson  Arizona Republic
Published 8:44 PM EDT May 24, 2019

Got an enclosed yard and an appreciation for reptiles? The Arizona Game and Fish Department is looking for homes for desert tortoises that can’t be released into the wild.

This is the sixth year the department has had the tortoise adoption program, said Tegan Wolf, coordinator of the Tortoise Adoption Program.

“It is pretty much the same reason that there is a lot of dogs and cats are up for adoption, people are still breeding them, which is illegal now, and we are trying to spread the word about that, but a lot of them are under medical treatment for improper care, because a lot of people don’t do research before they take one on, » Wolf said.

She said the females need to be spayed because they can actually continue to reproduce for years after being with a male.

About 25 tortoises are up for adoption now, but there will be about 100 once the rest are done with their medical exams, and there will probably be 350 or more throughout the year, Wolf said.

They have tortoises from 7 months old to 85 years old, Wolf said.

Tortoises can live more than 80 years, so make sure to have a « lifelong plan, » according to the department website.

There is no fee to adopt, but a $25 donation is suggested.

What do tortoises need?

There are a few requirements to bring a tortoise to your home.

The tortoise must live outside in a yard. They cannot be inside your home, and they must have a large burrow, Wolf said. Adult tortoises need a space about 18 feet square, she said.

The Phoenix adoption program does not go out to the homes for inspection, but they do require pictures of the area along with the application, she said.

Feeding tortoises should not be expensive, as they can feast on native plants and the occasional produce snack, she said.

Tortoises can be adopted between April 1 and Sept. 30, according to the department website.

If you want to find out more about the adoption process, or want to fill out the application for adoption, check out their website.