Adoptable desert tortoises get medical exams

Adoptable desert tortoises get medical exams

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s annual tortoise-adoption program begins April 1 but not before more than 100 of the critters undergo a thorough medical examination.

Dr. Jay Johnson of the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital will examine each tortoise’s eyes, mouth, nostrils, skin and shell. Tortoises are as small as a ping-pong ball to as large as a dinner plate. Adult tortoises will be checked for eggs and bladder stones. Each tortoise is fitted with an identification tag attached to its shell.

Only tortoises that get a clean bill of health will be put up for adoption. Potential adopters must be permanent residents of Arizona.

Breeding of captive tortoises has led to a surplus of the animals, which need homes.

Just remember that adopting is a long-term commitment. A desert tortoise can live up to 100 years.