Desert Tortoise Food Plants

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New Member
5 Year Member
Sep 11, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
AZ - USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 13
Although Mohave Desert Tortoises (MDT) - from California - and Sonora Desert Tortoise (SDT) - from Arizona - have the same latin name, researchers consider them separate "sub species" and are studying them separately. They do have some common food needs, but the native plants will of course be slightly different. I saw long comprehensive lists of foods for generic DT's posted. And contrary to one posting, grasses make up 40-60% of a DT's diet. SDT's are kept in outdoor enclosures and feed off growing plants with only some supplimentation from the grocery store. A good research-based food-plant list can be found at:

While many of these plants can be found at better nurseries, the best selection of native plants can be found at arboreums and botanical garden plant sales.

Hope this helps.
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