gopherus flavomarginatus

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Bolson Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus)

Also known as the Mexican giant tortoise or the Yellow-margined tortoise, the Bolson tortoise is a large species of gopher tortoise that is native to a region of the Chihuahuan Desert in north-central Mexico. Like other tortoises Bolson tortoises are herbivores and will feed on a variety of grasses, shrubs and herbs. They will dig small burrows and use them as refuge from predators and weather. These burrows are usually constructed in social aggregations and clusters can reveal the social structures of individuals.

Bolson tortoises are currently listed as vulnerable and their populations are in decline. This is due in part to over-collection for food and the pet trade and habitat destruction. 

Phylogeny

Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Testudines-Cryptodira-Testudinoidea-Testudinidae-Gopherus-G.flavomarginatus

Images :Mbtrap and Sandy Arbogast

A pair of hatchling Bolson Tortoises (Gopherus flavomarginatus) foraging at Ladder Ranch in Southern New Mexico. Ted Turner’s breeding program and land preservation here is a great example of conservation in our own backyard. The Turtle Conservancy is working to purchase our own 43,000 acre preserve for this vulnerable species in Northern Mexico to ensure a future for this amazing reptile.

Commonly referred to in Mexico as la tortuga grande, the Bolson Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus) is the largest terrestrial reptile in North America. Previously impacted by domestic pet trade, but more by hunting for local consumption, this species is now mainly threatened by habitat conversion into agricultural land for biofuel production and cattle ranching. The Turtle Conservancy is in the process of securing a large tract of land in the Chihuahuan in order to ensure the survival of this vulnerable species.