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Life in the Slow Lane

Find Scarlet’s Adventure Episode 7: Life in the Slow Lane here. Expand learning on Desert Tortoises with the resources below.

desert tortoise

Eyes on Science

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Discover Desert Tortoises

Desert tortoises are found in the hot rocky landscapes of the southwest United States, including Utah. These deserts can be a harsh environment. Summer afternoons can reach over 100 degrees, winter nights can plummet below freezing, and rain falls only a few inches each year. However, the desert tortoise is perfectly at home here. Tortoises dig underground homes called burrows. These burrows provide cool shade during the summer but are also cozy during the winter. They are comfortable in their burrows and spend up to 95% of their lives underground. Desert tortoise burrows can provide homes for other animals including kangaroo rats, burrowing owls, and rattlesnakes. When desert tortoises leave their burrows, they spend most of their time out looking for food and water. They are especially active after it rains. Tortoises will search for and remember areas where water pools in puddles. They also search for plants to eat like wildflowers or prickly pear cactus. Once they get their fill, desert tortoises can go up to a year without needing another drink by storing the water in their bladder. Desert tortoises are truly masters of desert survival!

More Ways to Explore

Read more about desert tortoises on the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium fact page.

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