High Desert Temperatures
Desert temps are over 100 degrees with extremely low humidity. Drink water before you hit the trails, and during your hike drink a quart of water per hour and some form of electrolytes to replace minerals your body needs. Wear a hat and sunscreen. More »
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 »
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?
The saguaro cactus only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert. There are approximately 1.6 million individual saguaro plants growing within Saguaro National Park.