Update June 10, 2019 including new photos in photo gallery.
Welcome to the home of Fokkerdon and my Desert
Tortoises, a website dedicated to providing the latest, most accurate information available on the proper care of my shelled friends, - Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) - often referred to as Mojave Desert Tortoises, Sonoran Desert Tortoises and California Desert Tortoises.
The construction of this website began with my first "foundling" hatchling in Sept. 2000, at which time I discovered that the prevalent "captive" care suggestions for them went against all common sense. I began to investigate and compile the latest correct care information to counter the massive amount of outdated, often incorrect and sometimes hazardous information contained on the internet in regards to my favorite tortoise. Due to the fact that they live long and slow, as with humans, the effects of incorrect nutrition/care is often slow to become overtly evident, at which time it is often no longer correctable.
Please enjoy your visit, peruse the photos and writings. If you have comments/suggestions, please feel free to write me at DesertTortoiseDon@gmail.com
Information on proper care is always changing, and I am more than willing to consider other opinions/evidences.
"Pyramiding", which is actually fibrous osteodystrophy (juvenile osteoporosis), caused by high phosphorus/low calcium diets, as well as being kept in too dry conditions and receiving excessive food.
Keeping them in captivity requires more than just buying lettuce and sticking them in the back yard; proper care requires thinking about how they have and do exist healthy in natural habitat areas in the wild and doing our best to duplicate that in captivity. As a rule, most of us cannot exactly duplicate their environment, but we can make good efforts to maximize their care and health. Some small initial efforts to provide natural habitat and growing natural graze foods for diet will allow easily keeping a tortoise that has the same healthy attributes as those in the wild, who exist in environments that are very harsh, yet have managed to do so without "pyramiding", etc. for millions of years, including the last @ 80,000 years in the present harsh Mojave desert environment.
The Care Sheet link to the left is the one that is currently used by the Kern County Chapter of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club (CTTC). The Plants and Foods is the current dietary information we also hand out in Bakersfield, Ca. with rescued torts via our adoption program.
Native Plant Diet Vs. Grocery Produce Diet examines the nutritional make-up of native plants vs. grocery produce items commonly fed. Explanations of possible (probable) health issues involving excessive use of grocery store produce are provided, as well as emphasis on the very few grocery items that at least meet the minimum recommended calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1. Bottom line is that if we look at and understand their life and diet in the wild, we can better provide for their life in captivity to allow them a healthier lifestyle.
High Pep Plants and Reasons Desert tortoises Need Them examines effects of potassium in desert tortoise diets and ways to minimize these effects.
Please visit often as tortoise care and research is an ongoing process; as new/more information becomes available, updates will be posted.
The Care Sheet link is active, containing a Basic Care Sheet.
It is constantly updated as new information becomes available.