Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tort Report

Photo by Ned Harris 9/5/2014

Photo by Mark Hengesbaugh 9/5/2014

Ned and I saw a woman taking a photo along the road to the Bear Canyon Bridge. Naturally, we went over to investigate. She pointed out the Sonoran Desert Tortoise in Ned's photo. Several others came by, including our pals Jean and Mark, and many photos were taken. Later that same day, Mark reported they had seen the tortoise in the lower photo.

Mark did some digging and found info from the Nevada Fish and Wildlife office website about Mohave Desert Tortoises:

...Males have longer curved gular horns which protrude from their lower shells underneath their neck and head. They use these horns to combat other males and for butting and nudging females during courtship. Males also have shallow depressions in their lower shells while the females lower shell is flat. Most people cannot tell the difference between male and female until they are between 15 to 20 years old or eight inches in length.

Two different species, of course, but it's likely that they share these characteristics. We think the top tort is a female; the bottom one, a male.

Anne says: Never flip a tortoise over to try to figure out the sex!! That's harassment and against Arizona law.

PROTECTED throughout Arizona
It is against Arizona State law to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect this animal in any part of the state. It is also illegal to attempt to engage in any such conduct.

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