Even though temperatures still exceed 100 degrees, winter isn’t too far off – at least if you’re a desert tortoise or box turtle looking to soon hibernate.
To help ensure captive native Sonoran desert tortoises or box turtles are healthy enough to hibernate and survive the cooler temperatures, the Arizona Game and Fish Department advises owners to schedule an appointment with one of several valley veterinarians hosting a pre-hibernation health clinic Sunday, Sept. 10 in north Phoenix.
Appointments are required and can be made by calling the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital at (623) 243-5200.
“This is a great opportunity to save money while ensuring your native desert tortoise or box turtle is healthy enough to enter hibernation, and to help other desert tortoises in need of care,” said Tegan Wolf, AZGFD Tortoise Adoption Program coordinator in a news release.
Health exams take approximately 15 to 30 minutes and will include a thorough physical exam, fecal test for parasites and review of proper diet and care, including proper hibernation preparation. If left untreated, some diseases such as upper respiratory tract disease and intestinal parasites, can be fatal.
The cost is $55 per tortoise or box turtle, which is about half-price for a typical tortoise exam and fecal testing.
Area veterinarians are donating the cost of their services. All proceeds and additional donations made from the clinic will benefit the AZGFD Tortoise Adoption Program to help care for sick, injured and homeless captive tortoises.
For more information about caring for desert tortoises in Arizona or to adopt one, visit www.azgfd.gov/tortoise.
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Copyright 2017 Southern Arizona News-Examiner