Tracking desert tortoise in the Colorado Desert

Heading out to the Black Hills to see what we can find. Photo: Jessica Graybill
The Black Hills and view towards the Little Chuckwalla Mountains. Photo: Joelle Hazher
Lined up and ready to go in the Black Hills of the Chuckwalla Bench. Photo: Joelle Hazher
Ed LaRue notes not to step near the mouth of the burrow — tortoises lay their eggs there, and our weight could crush them. Photo: Jessica Graybill
A tortoise burrow with an eggshell fragment. Photo: Joelle Hazher
When scat is found, we note the approximate age — the darker, the more recent. Photo: Jessica Graybill
Tortoises don’t eat insects intentionally, so we assume this unlucky fellow was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When scat is found, it is measured, and the size and approximate age is recorded. Photo: Jessica Graybill
Just when you think you’ve spotted a tortoise… Ed logs the coordinates of this find; an empty carcass beneath a creosote bush. Photo: Jessica Graybill

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