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Species: Desert Tortoise
The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), is a species of tortoise in the family Testudinidae. The species is native to the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, and to the Sinaloan thornscrub of northwestern Mexico. G. agassizii is distributed in western Arizona, southeastern California, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah. The specific name agassizii is in honor of Swiss-American zoologist Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz.
The desert tortoise lives about 50 to 80 years; it grows slowly and generally has a low reproductive rate. It spends most of its time in burrows, rock shelters, and pallets to regulate body temperature and reduce water loss. It is most active after seasonal rains and is inactive during most of the year. This inactivity helps reduce water loss during hot periods, whereas winter brumation facilitates survival during freezing temperatures and low food availability. Desert tortoises can tolerate water, salt, and energy imbalances on a daily basis, which increases their lifespans.