Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) with scute anomaly

Congenital scute anomalies are fairly common in desert tortoises, but incidence may vary significantly by locality. Factors influencing the development of scute anomalies may be environmental (temperature, moisture levels, oxygen content, presence of chemical pollutants/radiation at the nest site), genetic, or both (see Grover and DeFalco 1995 for summary).

©Zachary A. Cava