This is so cool! How long have us turtle/tortoise enthusiast needed this forum and these discussions! It's awesome to see everyone going to work trying to figure this out.
I suspect Bolson as well but that's not my area of expertise. As said before definitely not a TT but if indeed a CDT than its a very cool coloring.
Every year I hatch out my gulf coast box turtle eggs I'm reminding on the extreme diversity of genetics even within a sub species. So we always must remember that crazy unique colorations pop up naturally even within an ancient population.
The tortoise in the YouTube video certainly does look like my tortoise. Maybe that's the answer - after all, he did come from Mexico, and looking at maps as to where the Sonora desert is, that is a reasonable assumption.
1) Both could be desert tortoises, but as mentioned above, the lighter one could be a Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), while the darker one could be Sonoran desert tortoise (G. morafkai). Is that it?
2) It could be that the lighter one was raised outdoors, while the darker one was raised indoors. Indoor Testudos are lighter than outdoor ones, but indoor sulcatas are darker than their outdoor brethren. Perhaps it's just an effect of natural vs. artificial lighting?
3) BTW - I'm also wondering if the darker one could be a Bolson tortoise (G. flavomarginatus)?
Oh! I'm from Arizona, and both of my babies are desert tortoises and look like that darker one. All of the clutches that my dad's friend's tortoises lay look like that. I usually think the lighter ones look weird when I see them....hahaha. I'm so used to the darker ones.
Picture from March. They were slightly cranky because I woke them up so we could go outside before it got too hot.
I am really, really sorry for posting twice. I can't edit my post since it's been more than 30 minutes. I just took a picture of my tortoises wet and dry for color comparison. I'd take pictures of them on their backs but I don't want to scare them. . .
I also found an article that might be pertinent to this discussion.
The darker tortoise in my picture is definitely a mojave desert tortoise. I only put him in the picture so you all could compare the lighter one with a regular colored desert tortoise.
The lighter tortoise was given to me about 3 years ago and he was maybe a year old at that time. He has spent his whole time here with me in an indoor/outdoor set up, weather permitting. He was light when I got him and he has stayed light.
I still wonder if it is a Bolson. (Swoon!).
Gopherus flavomarginatus. Flavo- in Latin means yellow ... -marginatus as in the color of the marginal scutes.
Love those giant Mexican gopher tortoises. I hope you were given exactly that by that lady. How.Awesome.Would.That.Be?
Yvonne, I see you have a weimaraner in your pic... Does he/she go after the torts? I tried to introduce mine weim to one of my torts and she was having an anxiety attack because I would not let her eat it! As soon as she got close to it, her sniffs became nips and when i went to pull her away she went for the head... but thankfully missed. So, I won't be letting the tortoises roam the yard even while I'm present because I know she can't be trusted AT ALL! Makes me sad that I can't sit out back and let the tortoises out with the dogs and just watch and relax... Sorry, I don't mean to hijack the post either, I just saw the pic so I thought I'd comment here.
Believe it or not...that's a doberman. She's supposed to be a fawn, however, I'm thinking she's a plain, old red.
She is my faithful companion. She is always by my side. She's 14 months old, and still tuned in to me as the "mother" figure and follows me wherever I go. I would never trust her to be outside on her own, but she's fine as long as I'm there with her. There's no doubt in my mind that if she were left to her own devices she would eventually discover that a tortoise might be something to chew on.