Tortoise hatchlings

These tortoise hatchlings hatched on September 10, 2001.

Desert Duets: Sonoran Desert Tortoise Babies Web Page

Female desert tortoises dig a nest in which to lay their clutch of two to fourteen eggs. Most reptiles leave their eggs as soon as they are laid, but scientists have observed female tortoises protecting their newly laid eggs from predators such as Gila monsters. The eggs hatch approximately three months after they are laid.

Baby tortoises are called hatchlings. When they emerge from their shells, they are about the size of a matchbook. Desert tortoises usually establish their territory within two miles of where they were hatched.


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Launched: February 2008
Updated: 10 July 2011