%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
Nevada Government & Politics
Contemporary Nevada
(1964-Present)

State Reptile: Desert Tortoise

The Desert Tortoise is one of four tortoise species in North America which have survived virtually unchanged for some thirty million years.  A desert dweller, the tortoise is found in three southern Nevada counties: Clark, Lincoln, and Nye.  The tortoise was made the state reptile in 1989.

These remnants of an ancient time move slowly through the desert.  They eat grasses and cactus, and hibernate in burrows during the winter.  When young tortoises hatch, they are about the size of a silver dollar.  Like so many other Nevada symbols, the Desert Tortoise are threatened by the rapid growth in southern Nevada.  They are killed by cars and off road vehicles, and are losing their habitat as people build homes and businesses in the desert.
 

Photo Credit:
Nevada Historical Society