desert tortoise

noun

Definition of desert tortoise

: a large burrowing land tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) of arid regions of the southwestern U.S. and adjacent Mexico

Examples of desert tortoise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Species like the Sonoran desert tortoise can’t flee the fast-moving fire. Erin Stone, azcentral, "As Bush Fire becomes one of largest in Arizona history, water and wildlife at risk," 22 June 2020 Because of where the Ivanpah Valley sits in the Mojave Desert, the area likely acts as a nexus for desert tortoises, Esque said. Luke Runyon, azcentral, "Climate change is making life hard for desert tortoises in the Southwest," 9 Feb. 2020 Few species are equipped to handle a hot and dry climate better than the desert tortoise. Luke Runyon, azcentral, "Climate change is making life hard for desert tortoises in the Southwest," 9 Feb. 2020 The lawsuit cites challenges faced by creatures that include piping plovers in Rhode Island, orca whales in Washington state and desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert in Nevada. Gene Johnson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "17 states sue feds over Endangered Species Act rules," 25 Sep. 2019 Since 1990, the number of desert tortoises in the western Mojave has plummeted by more than 90%. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "These tortoise-killing ravens are so smart, scientists must use drones to stop them," 9 June 2019 Gazelles, jackals, desert tortoises and songbirds—not seen in the region for years—are returning. Aryn Baker / Mbar Toubab, Time, "Can a 4,815-Mile Wall of Trees Help Curb Climate Change in Africa?," 12 Sep. 2019 Some animals, like the desert tortoise in the southwestern United States, spend much of their time underground. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, "Deserts, explained," 12 June 2019 Locals says the base knows every desert tortoise and jackrabbit that hops the fence. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "The Real Story Behind the Myth of Area 51," 17 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desert tortoise.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of desert tortoise

1933, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of desert tortoise was in 1933

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Cite this Entry

“Desert tortoise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/desert%20tortoise. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on desert tortoise

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about desert tortoise

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