Desert Tortoise Adoption Programs
Limited to residents of Nevada
Under the authority of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Nevada Department of Wildlife, Tortoise Group has performed adoptions of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in Nevada for many years. The program ensures that the conditions for a tortoise are safe and offer a healthy environment. The new programs are limited to pet desert tortoises in Nevada.
Important points to know about pet tortoises
A tortoise must live outdoors
A tortoise must have a well-insulated burrow
A tortoise must be fed a healthy diet with supplementation
A breeding pair of tortoises must be separated
Things you should know if you want to become a tortoise custodian
Custodians must be adults and residents of Nevada
Caring for a tortoise is a long-term commitment; they can live to be 80-100 years old!
For NEW adoptions, each household is limited to one adult male tortoise.
All desert tortoises must be transferred or adopted through the approved federal and state adoption program through Tortoise Group
Adoption can occur in two ways:
Traditional Adoption. Tortoise Group will help you become the custodian of a desert tortoise by advising you in creating a healthy tortoise habitat and placing an unwanted pet in your home.
- Each household adopting a tortoise for the first time is limited to one adult male tortoise
- There is a consultation and technical assistance site visit charge of $125 for new custodians (An initial site visit charge of $20 for nonmembers and $10 for members will be deducted from the $125 charge).
To begin a Traditional Adoption, click Desert Tortoise Adoption Application on the next page.
- Do you already have a tortoise?
- Has someone given you a tortoise (or are you thinking of accepting a tortoise?)
- Have you found a tortoise that you would like keep?
Terrific! By using our new streamlined online system, you can register the tortoise and be the legal custodian of that tortoise. If you would like Tortoise Group to advise you on preparing or improving your habitat, there is a consulting fee of $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers.
To begin the RLAP process, click Desert Tortoise Register-to-Legally-Adopt Application on the next page.
Is it legal to possess a desert tortoise since they are protected as a threatened species?
The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nevada Department of Wildlife are mandated to protect those tortoises born after the desert tortoise was federally placed on the Endangered Species List on August 4, 1989.
- A tortoise is legally held in captivity if:
- The tortoise was acquired before August 4, 1989. Their progeny are also held legally.
- The tortoise was adopted officially through the Tortoise Group Adoption Program approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
- All other tortoises can now be legally adopted by simply registering with the RLAP program!!!