Thank you for your interest in adopting a desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai). A captive tortoise can live up to 100 years, so be aware that a tortoise you adopt may outlive you. Please read the following information carefully and determine whether or not you are able to provide the shelter and yard enclosure a desert tortoise needs, as well as the necessary care and treatment. Desert tortoises are typically only adopted from April 1 – September 30 because they hibernate during the cooler months, leaving plenty of time during the winter months to create a habitat.
If you decide you would like to adopt a desert tortoise, please visit the AGFD Captive Desert Tortoise Care website at: http://www.azgfd.gov/tortoise. Please also review the checklist below to be sure you have fulfilled the requirements. Then, fill out the application at the end of this booklet and return it with your photo documentation. In some cases, we may request that you give a tortoise adoption expert permission to visit your yard to take a closer look at your tortoise habitat. After you have been approved to adopt a tortoise, we will contact you to make arrangements to pick up your desert tortoise. Your tortoise may be permanently marked so if it becomes lost and then found it can be identified by various animal care agencies or veterinarians. A marked tortoise can be traced back to one of our adoption facilities and returned to you. You may be asked for a donation, or to pay a rehoming fee to cover the costs of caring for tortoises prior to adoption.
Any of the state-sanctioned desert tortoise adoption facilities will accept desert tortoises that can no longer be cared for by adoptive families. Typically, this occurs when adoptive families leave the state or the custodian passes away. Desert tortoises cannot be removed from Arizona, so if you are a desert tortoise custodian and are moving from Arizona, you must return the desert tortoise to one of the adoption facilities. If you relocate within the state, please contact the nearest adoption facility to update your address in our records. Remember that it is not only illegal to release a captive desert tortoise into the wild, doing so is also detrimental to wild tortoises because it can spread disease and disrupt uniquely adapted genetics in wild populations. You may adopt a desert tortoise if you are a permanent resident in Arizona.