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Arizona Game & Fish offering FREE tortoise adoptions

AZGFD is asking for help finding homes for the tortoises, most of which are youngsters.

ARIZONA, USA — If you're looking for a new family member, Arizona Game and Fish Department has over 100 Sonoran desert tortoises looking for forever homes.

In February, AZGFD launched its Tortoise Adoption campaign to find homes for nearly 300 wild desert tortoises. While 130 have been adopted, the department is asking for the public’s help finding Arizona homes for the 140 remaining tortoisesmost of which are youngsters. 

“We are so grateful for the families that have stepped up to adopt, but we still have a way to go to find homes for all of our tort friends before June,” said Tegan Wolf of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. 

“Desert tortoises make gentle, easy-natured and loyal companions - without the attitude. And, unlike some of their human teen counterparts, they love to eat their greens, adore their family and are fairly low maintenance,” she said.

AZGFD says desert tortoises make a great addition to a family home with the right preparation. Adoption is free to anyone willing to welcome a desert tortoise into their home. 

How to care for desert tortoises

  • Desert tortoises spend their time outdoors. Given Arizona’s extreme temperatures, tortoises require a burrow enclosure for protection. The biologists at AZGFD offer videos and instructions on creating a burrow online. Individuals who want to adopt a tortoise must show that they have a burrow ready for their new rescued tortoise before submitting an application.
  • Desert tortoises can live for 80 to 100 years. Often, families will enjoy a single tortoise companion for multiple generations. Loyal and true, tortoises are often included in estate planning and wills.
  • Desert tortoises are completely herbivorous, eating a wide variety of plants in the wild. Ideally, a captive tortoise should be allowed to graze throughout the day on grasses, leafy plants and flowers.

Ready to adopt or donate?

  • Review the adoption application and visit AZGFD’s social media channels to learn more about your potential tort match. The AZGFD staff frequently shares details about each tortoise's unique personality and behaviors to find the perfect family match.
  • Before submitting your application, visit the AZGFD adoption page to learn about care, diet and habitat needs. If you cannot adopt a tortoise but would like to help, donations cash or check donations are appreciated to help these beautiful native Arizonan tortoises receive the love and care they deserve.

Each year, AZGFD rescues hundreds of captive desert tortoises turned into the state or abandoned due to illegal breeding. Officials said it is unsafe for these tortoises to be released back into the wild.   


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