Species Survival Plan
Dry scrub and grasslands
Fox, bobcat, coyote and eagle
Grasses, weeds, flowers, prickly pear cactus and occasional grubs
Originally Native To
Southern Texas down through northeastern Mexico
6 - 8 inches
Male 7 - 9 lb.
Female 5 - 7 lb.
Rather small with yellowish-orange plates on its shell and small spurs on its legs
Up to 7 eggs
April - September
Captivity 50 - 60 years
Fairly solitary, males will fight when they come into contact; hibernate in winter
About Texas Tortoise
The Texas tortoise is the smallest of four species of gopher tortoises found in the United States. They range from southern Texas into northeastern Mexico. Fossils of these tortoises have been found in Texas that date back to 10 million B.C.
Texas tortoises are classified as a threatened species by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. They have been on the list since 1977 as a result of poor breeding, habitat destruction and exploitation from pet trade. There is a $10,000 fine if a person is found in possession of a Texas tortoise.
If you come across a Texas tortoise in the wild, make sure you never pick it up. Handling a wild tortoise is neither safe for you nor the tortoise.
This can stress out the tortoise and cause it to expel all the contents of its bladder as a last-resort defense mechanism. Doing this results in the loss of its water reserves and can cause the tortoise to slowly die of dehydration. In addition, all reptiles carry the bacteria Salmonella, which has no effect on them, but can make people very sick.
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As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.