Desert Tortoise Rescue
Adoption Application
(at bottom of page)

During the 1920's, there were 1000 California desert tortoise per square mile in the Mojave desert. Within only 70 years, in 1990, the desert tortoise was listed as a threatened species through the US Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species Act.  


·         Before leaving a parking area, check under your vehicle.  Tortoises sometimes rest under a vehicle for shade.

·         Keep your dogs on a lead or in the yard.  Dogs naturally pack with other loose dogs and wreak havoc on wildlife.

·         If you see a desert tortoise in traffic danger, please move the tortoise lowly and slowly in the direction it is heading.

·         Never take a tortoise out of the wild, and never put a captive tortoise into the wild.

·         And just because a tortoise is in a “neighborhood” doesn’t mean the tortoise isn’t wild.  We enjoy the quail and the bunnies on our streets.  We can enjoy desert tortoise sightings as well.

·         The Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue provides a legal haven for individuals who are no longer able to care for their captive tortoises.  This provision prevents captive, possibly diseased, tortoises from being released into the wild.

Adoption Program

The State ofCalifornia has made it possible to adopt California Desert Tortoises after their rehabilitation.  The requirements are:


·         You must be a resident of California.

·        The area in which you are going to keep your tortoise must be fenced, both top and bottom, to keep the tortoises in and other animals out.

·          Please be aware of any curious pets or small children that may interfere with the tortoises movement.

·         Already have a tortoise?  Please know that your tortoise isn't lonely.  Tortoises are not social animals.  Males will fight with each other, and males and females will breed (please see regulations below). 

·         No below the ground pool or ponds.  Tortoises love water and will drown.

·        There is an application process.  Please click on the WORD document below for the application and FAQ sheet.


·        Please note that at this time it is not legal to breed desert tortoises.  The specific law can be found at the, Title 14.  Please do not request a female for breeding.  Your application will be denied.






For the story of how the Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue began,

please visit: