Mojave Desert Tortoise
These desert dwellers have a high domed shell, 8-15 inches, with prominent growth lines and elephant like limbs. Shell is dusty to dark brown. Forelimbs and hind limbs are stocky and covered with large scales, and a short tail. Frequently found in washes, dunes, and rocky slopes. Habitat is mostly creosote bush, blackbrush and sand sage. Tracks consist of parallel rows of rounded dents. Burrows have half moon-shaped openings and may be 3-30 feet long. Deep shelter sites, called dens, are used for brumation, similar to hibernation. Shallow shelter sites are used temporarily from spring to fall. Desert tortoises are classified as a federally threatened species.