Talk:Desert tortoise

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Turtles (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon Desert tortoise is part of WikiProject Turtles, an attempt at creating a standardized, informative, comprehensive and easy-to-use turtle resource. If you would like to participate, you can choose to edit this article, or visit the project page for more information.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject California (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject California, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the U.S. state of California on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.


I know there's no consensus yet on how, exactly, common names should be classified. But I figured that, instead of a mish-mash of double lowercase, partial uppercase, and double uppercase names, we should keep internal consistency: so I made everything lowercase as that's my personal preference. --Xanzzibar 19:51, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Most important information is so far lacking on this page[edit]

Conservation status of the desert tortoise is both enormously controversial and also economically critical. Mohave populations of the desert tortoise were listed as Threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1990 based on population estimates showing great declines. At the time of this listing, with hundreds of thousands alive, it was the most numerous land animal ever proposed for this status by an order of magnitude. Only the delta smelt (a California fish species) was listed with higher numbers.

It is clear that desert tortoises in many areas have declined. it is also clear that ravens (attracted by human trash and preying on small tortoises), land conversion and subdivisions, military activities, off-road driving, and disease (possibly worsened by human transport) all cause harm to tortoises. It is also clear that large, similar (to humans) appearing desert areas may have strikingly different numbers of tortoises and that some areas have much higher populations than others. Although it is easy to propose "death by a thousand cuts" and the added negative effects of climate change... The ultimate question of what is causing tortoises to decline is unanswered. In particular, the question of whether wholly protected areas (such as National Parks) are immune to these declines has not been adequately studied. The latter point could help discern whether declines were due to direct human actions or activities that don't stop at boundaries.

One of the reasons great controversy has always surrounded the desert tortoise status is because there are still no currently existing, reliable methods for estimating their numbers. Because these animals are cryptic (living in deep burrows they excavate in the soil) and because most areas contain very sparse populations (i.e., the natural density is low) the normal methods used in mark/recapture studies may be ineffective and low numbers of captures may cause failure of the mathematical models normally used for population estimation. Various "recovery plans" for the desert tortoise have been published each proposing some different population sampling method. So far, all such proposed methods have mathematical or logistical failings rendering their results unreliable or actually wrong.

There are relatively few published, peer-reviewed, scientific papers on how to count desert tortoises and to arrive at reasonable estimates. These papers need to be summarized herein or at least referenced in some way. At the very least, existence of this subject needs inclusion on the desert tortoise page. 07:22, 15 July 2007 (UTC)


'Captive sources include urban foundlings, unwanted captives, and their progeny.'
Could find no sources for this.
~ender 2008-11-14 2:20:AM MST

Good pets.[edit]

Having owned a tortoise from August '85 to July '09, these animals make fun pets in the summer. Of course, I'm not going to play with a tortoise in the winter. My tortoise now lives at the Red Rock NAC visitors' center. His name's Mikey. Sierraoffline444 (talk) 21:24, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

The keeping and capture and maintenance of tortoises by the MAJORITY of persons should be discouraged and is not appropriate for this site. Of concern is the capture, transportation and keeping of wild tortoises. The keeping of tortoises as pets by untrained and unskilled persons repeatedly results in deformation of the shells and skeletal structure. Much of the blame for severe health issues in turtles and tortoises goes to owners not providing adequate ultraviolet exposure and/or suitable foods with sufficient vitamin D. The wrong kind of food and foods with too much protein are also responsible for growth deformities in chelonians.

Fibrous osteodystrophy is a bone disease evidenced by a soft shell. It is usually caused by malnutrition from the lack of a proper calcium to phosphorus ratio, sunlight, or both. This disease causes shell deformities, including raised, pyramid-like scutes on the upper shell.

REF: Johnson-Delaney, CA; Harrison, LR. (eds.) Exotic Companion Medicine Handbook for Veterinarians. Zoological Education Network, Inc. Lake Worth, Florida; 2000.

McArthur, SDJ; Wilkinson, RJ; Barrows, MG. Tortoises and turtles. In Meredith, A; Redrobe, S. (eds.) British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Manual of Exotic Pets, Fourth Edition. BSAVA. Quedgeley, Gloucester, England; 2002.

Wiesner, CS; Iben, C. Influence of environmental humidity and dietary protein on pyramidal growth of carapaces in African spurred tortoises (Geochelone sulcata). Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 87[1-2]:66-74 2003 Feb.

Another concern is that a large portion of desert tortoises are showing up with viral infections and when released back into the wild. Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) possibly caused by mycoplasma is largely responsible for deaths in wild populations. These infections appear to be spread and encouraged by the capture, transportation and subsequent release of desert tortoises (relocation and translocation).


Herpimage —Preceding undated comment added 22:26, 8 February 2012 (UTC).

Biased Information[edit]

This page is largely constructed using Biased information. Despite the wealth of information available on this species only a narrow group of references is used. Needs a much broader base from which to draw, which would bring more accuracy to many of the sections.SPKronos (talk) 22:04, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Basically I agree. It's a C-class article and requires substantial work to be decent. Typically good article require 50+ references, so this article is still in it's infancy. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 22:39, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Gopherus morafka (Sonoran Desert Tortoise) recognized as separate species[edit]

This is going to require a lot of work. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:58, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Changed: Mojave Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) and the Sonoran Desert Tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) to Agassiz's Desert Tortoise and Morafka's Desert Tortoise. The corrected common names have been accepted by the committee that oversees the nomenclature for "Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:26, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I tried to put in a reference to support my edit stating that Morafka's tortoise is named for the late David Morafka of Cal State University, Dominguez Hills. However, I failed to get it to work properly. Here is the citation.

The dazed and confused identity of Agassiz’s land tortoise, Gopherus agassizii (Testudines, Testudinidae) with the description of a new species, and its consequences for conservation

Vegasprof (talk) 01:06, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

This article needs to be broken up into two, for the two separate species[edit]

It's dreadful as is, and ought to be two totally separate articles, although there can also be one shorter article about just the genus Gopherus. As the article stands, the differences between the two species remain very unclear. Two much is muddled together. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:32C7:8C00:E80B:257B:38DE:4BD9 (talk) 19:01, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Isn't the bulk of the material the same for both species? There may not be enough distinct information for two separate articles (or three, counting the parent Gopherus article). —BarrelProof (talk) 22:47, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Weight is wrong[edit]

Desert tortoise do NOT ever weigh what is listed here (20-50lbs).

I dont have a good source to show the average weight but this site for instance shows it is 8-15lbs:  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:31, 4 November 2015 (UTC)