Fire Restrictions in effect for Saguaro National Park
Due to increased fire danger in southern Arizona, Saguaro National Park will implement fire restrictions in both the Rincon and Tucson Mountain Districts, beginning Wednesday, May 22, 2013. More »
Bottled water no longer for sale in Saguaro National Park
Water bottle filling stations have been installed at both visitor centers and the Rincon Mountain District bike ramada for visitors to refill their reusable water bottles. A variety of BPA-free waterbottles are available inside the visitor centers. More »
Tucson Mountain District (west) road re-opened
The Golden Gate Road has been re-opened north of Sendero-Esperanza and is is now rated for high clearance vehicles due to the rough nature of the terrain. More »
Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)
The desert tortoise is a long-lived, slow growing tortoise and is estimated to live from 50 to possibly 100 years! They are common, yet often unseen at Saguaro National Park. The majority of their long lives is spent in burrows where they escape the cold winter temperatures and extreme summer heat.
Desert tortoises are well adapted to arid conditions and conserve water in several ways. They have thick skin to prevent water loss, and they excrete dry uric acid instead of urine. Also, tortoises can store water in their large urinary bladders. This stored water can be used in self defense if necessary. It is apparantly distasteful to predators, and when frightened, the tortoise may suddenly empty its bladder. However, this defense can be costly in times of drought, and the tortoise could die of dehydration if it can not replace the fluids. For more information about desert tortoises at Saguaro National Park, including tortoise research go to www.nps.gov/research/deserttortoise.htm
Shell length: 8 - 15 in (20.3 - 38.1 cm)
Diet: Grasses, leafy plants, cactus fruit
Did You Know?
Even though the Sonoran Desert is known as very hot and dry place, snow sometimes falls and accumulates on the desert floor of Saguaro National Park. When it does it turns the desert into a winter wonderland. More...