Texas Tortoise

Texas Tortoise

Range:

South-Central Texas southward into the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas..

Habitat:

Sandy soils in open woods and chaparral.

Characteristics:

A rounded carapace which may be as broad as is long, and its coloration varies from tan to dark brown. Feet stumpy; plastron rigid. Gular scutes of plastron may be greatly elongated, forked, and curved upward, especially in adult males used for breeding battles.

Texas Tortoise
Behavior:

Prowling actively in hot weather, but usually in early morning or late afternoon. Burrows are sometimes constructed in sandy soil, but they normally spend their time resting in shallow pallets. They often enter mammal burrows to conceal themselves entirely.

Reproduction:

The young are about 1 1/2 – 2 inches (long and across) in length and have a large scute of carapace with a yellow center.

Conservation:

A low reproductive rate, historic heavy exploitation by pet suppliers, and other factors have led to a severe population decline of the species. This has resulted in its being listed in 1977 as a protected nongame (threatened) species, thus affording protection from being taken, possessed, transported, exported, sold, or offered for sale.

Did YOU Know?    
The Texas tortoise, unlike other species of gopher tortoise, are not adept burrowers.
Texas Tortoise
Range
Class: reptiles
Order: Testudines
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Gopherus
Species: berlandieri
Length: 5 1/2- 8 in. Record is 8 3/4 in.
Average Lifespan: 60 years
Wild Diet: Grass and the pads, flowers, and fruits of the prickly pear, other vegetation
USFWS Status: Threatened
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Off Exhibit: Education Animal Facility


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