Vincent, a wild desert tortoise, a true star

Photography by Stephanie Smith.

Any tortoise heads out there care to hazard a guess as to the age of this critter?


About jay babcock

JT Homesteader, Arthur Magazine ... Joshua Tree, CA ...
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4 Responses to Vincent, a wild desert tortoise, a true star

  1. Jason says:

    Vincent is an adult, so he is more than 15 or so and because you are a fairly high in elevation I would venture at least 20. His shell is in good shape so he is not entering old age, so I would say somewhere between 20 and 60. Probably not as exact as you would like but as good as I can estimate.

  2. Jason says:

    Also looking at the first photo he might be a she, the “horns” under its neck look small like a female tortoise…

  3. tortoise form rings on their carapaces (top of shell), like trees, so next time you see one, try to count the rings around the scutes (the “plates” on their back). In addition to the shape of the gular horn (males have a longer horn),

    male tortoises develop chin glands or knobs on the chin, have a longer tail, and have a concave plastron (a dish-shaped depression on the posterior, underside of the shell).

    If all else fails, you can also sex a tortoise by examining it for wear and tear on the back of the carapace, near the tail. A lot of wear and tear = years of being mounted = female.

    And I would agree with Jason, it appears you may have photographed Vincenetta, rather than Vincent.

  4. jay babcock says:

    Hey Fiend- Thanks for the tips. How many years does each ring on a scute represent?

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