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Desert Turtle
Gopherus agassizi

Desert Turtle, Gopherus agassiziThe desert turtle (tortoise) is a protected species.  When my daughter was in elementary school, she filled out the paper work to adopt four desert turtle through the agency of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club .  These turtles had hatched in a backyard, and so could not be released into the wild.  To posses this species it is necessary to obtain a permit from the California Fish and Game Commission, and a license for each turtle.

They eat a wide variety of plants.  Perhaps their most favorites were dandelions and hibiscus (especially the flowers).  I had to build a "turtle fence" to keep them away from my blackberries, tomatoes, etc.

At first I could hold all four on one hand, this picture is 18 years later and they are more than 20 pounds each.  Any time someone was in the yard, the turtles came to investigate the activity and get some attention.  After the kids grew up and left there wasn't much to entertain the turtles most of the time.  So we had them adopted by a preschool and families with small children. (Their paper work went with them.)

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