TORTOISE GROUP, a Las Vegas-based organization, emphasizes responsible care of legally-held pet
tortoises and protection of wild desert tortoises. This organization achieved non-profit status in
1982 and has three objectives: (1) to provide adoption services for unwanted or displaced pet
tortoises; (2) to promote responsible attitudes and actions by providing information and educational
programs for the public; and (3) to discourage unauthorized collections of wild tortoises and the
release of pets. From 1989 to 2003, Tortoise Group participated in development of the Clark
County Habitat Conservation Plan. A representative continues to take part in conservation efforts
that are implemented under what is now the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation
Program through education programs. Independent efforts by Tortoise Group members emphasize teaching
children through school programs. Tortoise Group volunteers provide adoption services for unwanted
or escaped captive tortoises and visit homes of families who have pet tortoises and want to improve
their living conditions. The website provides over 20 sheets on care (listed below), a handbook, and
other valuable information for owners of captive tortoises.
Captive desert tortoises fed Megadiet thrive. The specially
formulated diet for tortoises contains all necessary nutrients for a healthy animal and can be
obtained from Tortoise Group.
Photograph by Betty L. Burge.
One of Tortoise Group’s successful
programs is providing a complete tortoise chow, which is made by Zeigler Brothers. It is called Megadiet; Dr. Olav Oftedal was influential in developing the formula for this complete diet.
Tortoise Group members have used it since the early 1990 and it produces healthy, well-formed
tortoises (no pyramidal shells). Common vegetables or other supplements are unnecessary when
MegaDiet is used.
The Tortoise Group presents monthly programs with guest speakers for the general public, provides
speakers for school classes and other interested groups, and distributes a newsletter. it meets at
1:00-3:00 p.m. on the 3rd Saturday of each month (February through September) at the Nevada State
Museum in Lorenzi Park, Las Vegas.
A list of information sheets, available at the website, is shown below.
# 1 Avoiding Crowding and Planning for Compatibility Among Your Tortoises
# 2 Determining the Age and Sex of Your Desert Tortoise
# 3 Measuring Tortoise Size and How Tortoises Grow
# 4 Comparison of Nutrient Value in Foods, Feeding Dos and Don'ts
# 5 Marking Your Tortoise
# 6 The North American Box Turtle - How to Care for it in the Las Vegas Area
# 7 Transporting Tortoises Short Distances by Vehicle
# 8 An Alternative Design for an Underground Burrow (where soil is very loose)
# 9 Considering Using PVC Pipe for Tortoise Burrows? Read this first
#10 The Aboveground Burrow
#11 Keeping Records of Tortoise Behavior and Growth
#12 Planting Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus for Your Tortoise
#13 Transplanting Dandelions for Your Tortoise
#14 Burrows for Hatchlings and Juveniles up to 3 1/2 inches Shell Length
#15 Alternative Location for Hibernation When an Outdoor Burrow is Not Available
#16 Water Pavilion Construction
#17 Temporary Indoor Housing
#18 Ticks on Tortoises
#19 Growing Dandelions from Seed
#20 Tortoises In The Classroom; Concerns and Alternatives
#21 Plants To Grow For Tortoises
#22 Making A Gate Barrier
#23 Why Not Release Helium Balloons
#24 Area Veterinarians With Tortoise Experience
#25 Treatment Of Drowning In Tortoises
#26 Cal Zoo's Reptile Associated Salmonella FAQ.
For information on membership and other topics, call or write to:
5157 Poncho Circle
Las Vegas, NV 89119