Monday, August 26, 2013

Desert Tortoises (updated 5/5/2015)

(Note:  I don’t know what happened to the Slide shows here… I am trying to fix them.  5/5/15)


I love these creatures.  I first wrote this in 2010, then updated it last spring to share all the photos of this marvelous critter.  Now hundreds will be killed unless we can stop it.

SAVE THE TORTOISES AT BLM NEVADA. The BLM is claiming they have to murder hundreds of tortoises- they don't!! We can help.

President Obama please help save these tortoises. We know you have much bigger fish to fry, but this problem is an easy fix. Citizens will help adopt them and/or pitch in to find new homes for them. Lets find them homes instead of murdering them. What can we do to help you-help us???

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced it will kill hundreds of threatened desert tortoises it's been caring for at a Nevada conservation facility. The slaughter is being blamed on a lack of funds etc.

There is a solution. The conservation facility has been taking care of them since 1990. Now it's our turn.

Created: Aug 26, 2013

Please sign the petition.


Camping in Pahrump, NV, 2010.  I became fascinated with these creatures in 2010.  Before that, I had never seen on.  I don’t know anything about them, so had to research it.  They have underground burrows that can be over 10 feet deep.  The males are very competitive, but now in the burrows. They never fight there, but above ground, they will fight to the death, or until one gets turned on his back.  This is usually a death sentence, though sometimes they can get themselves flipped over.  I found one very large shell, still upside down.

In the last set of slides you see someone holding a tortoise. This lady thought she was doing a good thing to carry one back to camp to show everyone.  It IS NOT a good thing and is in fact, against the law.  Do NOT touch them or disturb their daily activities.  Leave them in place and walk away.  They are a protected species.

2010_03_31_pahrump2 0352010_04_26_spoonersCove 023










Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Phoenix, AZ, 2013.


A short trail below the Visitor Center.


Wonderful view of the lake – 10 miles long.


Looking down on the enclosure – but turtles are not out yet, they are deep inside there den which could be 10’ or more below ground.




See movie.

A man made (or is that Eagle Scout made) entrance to their den.


In the wild, tortoises will push rocks out of the way and make their own little water catchment basins.  If rain is expected, you may see them sitting near the basin, waiting to drink their fill.  They may not drink again for a year.  Here they have water year round, even though they don’t need it.


Thank you, Eagles.


  1. SwankieWheels,
    Interesting blog about tortoises. Great pics too.
    Enjoyed your blog.
    Phyllis Anne

  2. This was quite interesting. We've stayed at Lake Pleasant before and hiked that trail but never saw any turtles. Perhaps I didn't know where to look. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Seeing them would take a good eye... they fit in well. Also, it would depend on the time of the day, and the day of the year. They spend most of their life underground. And they can feel the vibrations of people walking above... and if a trail has heavy traffic, they most likely will stay away. The time I have seem the most in the wild... is when I myself was in the wild without a lot of other people around... and in a heavily populated turtle area.
      NEVER pick one up. Doing so will cause them to void there water, which could cause death. They can go a year without drinking more water... and you could cause them to loose that year's supply of water. If they can't re-supply, they will die.


Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.