Is this a sulcata or desert tortoise?

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,368
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Its not a sulcata. Sure looks like a DT to me, but its a bit high domed. Can we see more pics, and the underside?

Here is the correct care info:
 

Beverly Edick

New Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
PRESCOTT
DA50FBA7-66A7-48CD-A0D4-4E6C2DE509CF.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • 752D466E-6AAE-4F8D-8EAA-5FE0C0940177.jpeg
    752D466E-6AAE-4F8D-8EAA-5FE0C0940177.jpeg
    2 MB · Views: 15
  • 3778265A-195C-4B6B-8BD1-D7EA85562CC1.jpeg
    3778265A-195C-4B6B-8BD1-D7EA85562CC1.jpeg
    2.1 MB · Views: 15

Beverly Edick

New Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
PRESCOTT
Its not a sulcata. Sure looks like a DT to me, but its a bit high domed. Can we see more pics, and the underside?

Here is the correct care info:
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,625
He was born Oct 2015. I got him at 6 weeks old.
Since you seem to know the age, it seems that someone must have hatched it in captivity. The people that sold or gave you the tortoise either didn't know or tell you what species it was when you got it? That seems rather weird. One would think that people who were breeding tortoises or at least hatching tortoise eggs would know what they had. Or did they possibly just find the baby someplace and found it a home with you?

Also did they have their adult(s) on loan from the state of AZ? I don't think it is legal for private persons to actually OWN Desert Tortoises in the state of AZ.

My final comment is that the tail of your tortoise appears quite small and short. Therefore, it looks like a female to me.
 
Last edited:

Beverly Edick

New Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
PRESCOTT
Since you seem to know the age, it seems that someone must have hatched it in captivity. The people that sold or gave you the tortoise either didn't know or tell you what species it was when you got it? That seems rather weird. One would think that people who were breeding tortoises or at least hatching tortoise eggs would know what they had. Or did they possibly just find the baby someplace and found it a home with you?

Also did they have their adult(s) on loan from the state of AZ? I don't think it is legal for private persons to actually OWN Desert Tortoises in the state of AZ.

My final comment is that the tail of your tortoise appears quite small and short. Therefore, it looks like a female to me.
My understanding is, years ago you could not have DT's in Az. but that has changed since there are so many needing homes. There was an article in the paper years ago from, I believe, Game and Fish, asking for people to adopt them. Thats why Im saying those laws must have changed. This one came from California. A coworker brought it back from her trip to Cali. And no, i was not told what species it was. At the time I didn't even know there was such a variety of Tortoise. I just had other people tell me its a Sulcuta. Finding out differently now. Luckily he's happy, healthy, and well taken care of thanks to this group.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,883
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
My final comment is that the tail of your tortoise appears quite small and short. Therefore, it looks like a female to me.
Hey, Bill! 😃 Yes, the tail is short, and at first I thought female as well. But it is only 5 years old.

Look closely at pic #1 in post # 3. I believe I see the beginnings of chin glands, just above the gular.

Is there a chance I'm correct? Or do my eyes deceive me? 🤔;)😃
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,625
Hey, Bill! 😃 Yes, the tail is short, and at first I thought female as well. But it is only 5 years old.

Look closely at pic #1 in post # 3. I believe I see the beginnings of chin glands, just above the gular.

Is there a chance I'm correct? Or do my eyes deceive me? 🤔;)😃
Hi Karen,

Yes, upon looking closely there seem to be small chin glands. Do you think that females could have very small ones and males have much larger ones? I simply don't know, and have no Desert Tortoises to check to see if that is a possibility.

The tail still looks awfully short and stubby, though, so I would say the tortoise is probably too young to be certain of the sex either way.
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,625
My understanding is, years ago you could not have DT's in Az. but that has changed since there are so many needing homes. There was an article in the paper years ago from, I believe, Game and Fish, asking for people to adopt them. Thats why Im saying those laws must have changed. This one came from California. A coworker brought it back from her trip to Cali. And no, i was not told what species it was. At the time I didn't even know there was such a variety of Tortoise. I just had other people tell me its a Sulcuta. Finding out differently now. Luckily he's happy, healthy, and well taken care of thanks to this group.
Yes, I have read the law regarding Desert Tortoises in AZ. You can have a Desert Tortoise if you get it from the state of AZ, but they cannot be removed from the wild. The way I interpret the state's law, you cannot legally possess one WITHOUT paperwork from the state. Also not sure if you are aware of this, but the law states that the limit is "one tortoise per person per household". IE, you can have one tortoise for each family member.

Here is the info: https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/nongamemanagement/tortoise/captivecare/

I believe that since the CA and AZ Desert Tortoises are the exact same species, it doesn't matter that you got yours from CA, you would still need a permit from AZ to possess it in the state.

Do you have proof that it came from CA? They are protected there also. I don't know what AZ would do if you told them to you brought one from CA into AZ. The AZ law says it is unlawful to remove them from AZ. Not sure what CA law is.

I am just trying to inform you of the bureaucratic red tape that exists so you are aware of any possible problems that you might encounter. I have heard that the state is rather willing to give out permits to people who unknowingly pick up the tortoises and bring them home, since the state does not want them released back into the wild once they have been in captivity.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,883
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Yes, I have read the law regarding Desert Tortoises in AZ. You can have a Desert Tortoise if you get it from the state of AZ, but they cannot be removed from the wild. The way I interpret the state's law, you cannot legally possess one WITHOUT paperwork from the state. Also not sure if you are aware of this, but the law states that the limit is "one tortoise per person per household". IE, you can have one tortoise for each family member.

Here is the info: https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/nongamemanagement/tortoise/captivecare/

I believe that since the CA and AZ Desert Tortoises are the exact same species, it doesn't matter that you got yours from CA, you would still need a permit from AZ to possess it in the state.

Do you have proof that it came from CA? They are protected there also. I don't know what AZ would do if you told them to you brought one from CA into AZ. The AZ law says it is unlawful to remove them from AZ. Not sure what CA law is.

I am just trying to inform you of the bureaucratic red tape that exists so you are aware of any possible problems that you might encounter. I have heard that the state is rather willing to give out permits to people who unknowingly pick up the tortoises and bring them home, since the state does not want them released back into the wild once they have been in captivity.
The laws in AZ and CA are almost the same. Here in CA it is illegal to take them out of the state. It is also illegal to intentionally breed them, and known males and females are not to be housed together. If an unplanned mating does occur, the eggs must be left in the ground. They cannot be brought in to an incubator. However, unlike AZ, there is no limit on how many can be kept. I believe in both of the states, it is illegal to sell or buy a desert tortoise. They can only be gifted to another keeper in-state. No money can change hands.

In CA we are to have a permit issued by the state to keep a DT. You apply for one through the CTTC, CA Turtle and Tortoise Club. The permit is free and there is no hassle getting one. It seems the state just wants to know how many are being kept and where they are.

DT's are not owned by the keeper. DT's belong to the people of CA. We are merely their caretakers.
 
Last edited:

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
4,883
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Hi Karen,

Yes, upon looking closely there seem to be small chin glands. Do you think that females could have very small ones and males have much larger ones? I simply don't know, and have no Desert Tortoises to check to see if that is a possibility.

The tail still looks awfully short and stubby, though, so I would say the tortoise is probably too young to be certain of the sex either way.
I just did some quick research. Both males and females have these glands. However, in females they are very poorly developed. They are most developed in alpha males during breeding season. They can get really big at that time. The pictures looked like a large pea sized gland on each side. The more submissive males' don't get nearly so large.

That we can see them at this young age still has me thinking male in spite of the small tail.

But you are probably correct...still too young to know. :)


 

Beverly Edick

New Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
PRESCOTT
Yes, I have read the law regarding Desert Tortoises in AZ. You can have a Desert Tortoise if you get it from the state of AZ, but they cannot be removed from the wild. The way I interpret the state's law, you cannot legally possess one WITHOUT paperwork from the state. Also not sure if you are aware of this, but the law states that the limit is "one tortoise per person per household". IE, you can have one tortoise for each family member.

Here is the info: https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/nongamemanagement/tortoise/captivecare/

I believe that since the CA and AZ Desert Tortoises are the exact same species, it doesn't matter that you got yours from CA, you would still need a permit from AZ to possess it in the state.

Do you have proof that it came from CA? They are protected there also. I don't know what AZ would do if you told them to you brought one from CA into AZ. The AZ law says it is unlawful to remove them from AZ. Not sure what CA law is.

I am just trying to inform you of the bureaucratic red tape that exists so you are aware of any possible problems that you might encounter. I have heard that the state is rather willing to give out permits to people who unknowingly pick up the tortoises and bring them home, since the state does not want them released back into the wild once they have been in captivity.
o
The laws in AZ and CA are almost the same. Here in CA it is illegal to take them out of the state. It is also illegal to intentionally breed them, and known males and females are not to be housed together. If an unplanned mating does occur, the eggs must be left in the ground. They cannot be brought in to an incubator. However, unlike AZ, there is no limit on how many can be kept. I believe in both of the states, it is illegal to sell or buy a desert tortoise. They can only be gifted to another keeper in-state. No money can change hands.

In CA we are to have a permit issued by the state to keep a DT. You apply for one through the CTTC, CA Turtle and Tortoise Club. The permit is free and there is no hassle getting one. It seems the state just wants to know how many are being kept and where they are.

DT's are not owned by the keeper. DT's belong to the people of CA. We are merely their caretakers.
I did research as well. Came up with the same. Whats strange is when I first got him I took him to the vet to make sure he was healthy and have him checked out. I was asked where I got him, what kind of an enclosure do I have, what am I feeding him, temperature, etc, etc, etc. No one said anything at that time about whether or not I had a permit or that I needed one. ??? But....I will go through the proper channels and get it taken care of. Just hope it goes well. Thanks everyone!
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,625
o

I did research as well. Came up with the same. Whats strange is when I first got him I took him to the vet to make sure he was healthy and have him checked out. I was asked where I got him, what kind of an enclosure do I have, what am I feeding him, temperature, etc, etc, etc. No one said anything at that time about whether or not I had a permit or that I needed one. ??? But....I will go through the proper channels and get it taken care of. Just hope it goes well. Thanks everyone!
Well, good luck with it.

I suppose another option might be to do nothing now and only apply for a permit after claiming ignorance should anyone ever question you about your tortoise.

I live in GA where it is illegal to keep ANY herp in captivity if it is native to GA. I have lived here 20 years and no one has ever questioned me about what animals I had. If I had known that would be the case, I would most likely not have sold off all of my species which were native to GA before moving here.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,368
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
o

I did research as well. Came up with the same. Whats strange is when I first got him I took him to the vet to make sure he was healthy and have him checked out. I was asked where I got him, what kind of an enclosure do I have, what am I feeding him, temperature, etc, etc, etc. No one said anything at that time about whether or not I had a permit or that I needed one. ??? But....I will go through the proper channels and get it taken care of. Just hope it goes well. Thanks everyone!
Vets are there to help care for your pets. They don't care about the legalities. We have the same thing here with ferrets. They are illegal in CA, but millions of people have them anyway. You can find ferret care products in any pet store, and vets are happy to treat them. Enforcing wildlife laws doesn't pay their bills.

What is curious is that care for DT and sulcatas is quite different. Diet is similar, but not temps. I wonder why, if anyone realized you had a different species than what you thought, that no one said anything about that? Most vets wouldn't know the difference in care anyway, I suppose.
 

Beverly Edick

New Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
PRESCOTT
Vets are there to help care for your pets. They don't care about the legalities. We have the same thing here with ferrets. They are illegal in CA, but millions of people have them anyway. You can find ferret care products in any pet store, and vets are happy to treat them. Enforcing wildlife laws doesn't pay their bills.

What is curious is that care for DT and sulcatas is quite different. Diet is similar, but not temps. I wonder why, if anyone realized you had a different species than what you thought, that no one said anything about that? Most vets wouldn't know the difference in care anyway, I suppose.
The vet asked if I had a thermometer in the enclosure. He never discussed what those temps should be. I live a very solitary life so no one ever comes to my house other than family. So there would be no one to question what kind I have. He's always referred to as "the tortoise", not what kind of tortoise. I came to the conclussion it was a Sulcuta by pictures on this forum. However, when I saw the "nuchal scute" comments on this forum it made me wonder if he was a DT. Thats when I posted his picture and asked. So now i'm in a mess, not knowing what to do. He is remarkable! I've spent my winter building him a large enclosure, for this summer. I even have a place for me to sit out there with him cuz I love watching him! What to do, what to do.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top