Each year, California Turtle and Tortoise Club Adoption Committees place hundreds of abandoned, lost, seized, injured or diseased turtles and tortoises that have been turned in by other humane organizations, members of the public, local and federal government officers and veterinarians. These animals are treated, if sick, and are then placed as quickly as possible into suitable homes.
Before you download and submit an adoption application form for a desert tortoise or for another species of turtle/tortoise, please read the following paragraphs carefully:
Because adoption applicants are screened, and for other humane and legal reasons, ANIMALS ARE USUALLY PLACED ONLY IN REGIONS WITH CTTC CHAPTERS.
Please Note: At this time, CTTC is unable to assist with out-of-state requests. Please contact your local rescue societies, reptile and turtle/tortoise rescues, animal shelters, etc. See “Other Turtles and Tortoises” for possible additional resources.
If you reside IN CALIFORNIA and have an animal that you need to place in a new home, or have questions about CTTC's Adoption Program, please contact your local Chapter. Click on the links under the heading "CTTC Chapter Contact Information" to contact your chapter by email. Please provide your – or the animal's – location, species, gender, age/size and number of animals in your request for assistance.
The California Turtle and Tortoise Club's Executive Board compiles Chapter adoption statistics. These statistics include how many and which species of turtle and tortoise were turned into CTTC, and how many were placed. Quarterly and Annual Adoption Activity Reports are available on this page under the heading "Adoption Statistics by Year."
CTTC WILL NOT PLACE DESERT TORTOISES IN SITUATIONS WHERE CAPTIVE BREEDING MAY OCCUR. CTTC works with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to place desert tortoises. Both CDFW and CTTC discourage the captive breeding of desert tortoises.
Under federal and state laws it is illegal to buy, sell, take or harm desert tortoises in California, or to move them out of the State. By agreement with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, designated members of California Turtle & Tortoise Club serve as volunteer representatives for the Department for the relocation of desert tortoises (including captive bred hatchlings) within California. This involves Adoption Committee members in each CTTC Chapter responding to requests from State Fish and Game Officers, our own members, the general public, veterinarians and humane organizations such as the ASPCA and local animal shelters, to provide pick-up services, veterinary care and husbandry recommendations for desert tortoises. Every year, CTTC handles hundreds of desert tortoises and works to provide the best homes available.
Members of California Turtle & Tortoise Club help to maintain the data base of captive desert tortoises, and process and issue the permits and registration materials for California Department of Fish and Wildlife's "Permit to Possess Gopherus Tortoises" program. The program was designed to allow the legal possession of a protected species (i.e. the desert tortoise) which has a large captive population but is endangered in the wild, and thus to discourage illegal taking and abandonment of wild tortoises. Having a legal mechanism in which to operate is essential in the endeavor to prevent individual members of the public from returning long term captive tortoises to the wild, a once common practice that is widely suspected to have been a major contributing factor in the spread of the Upper Respiratory Tract Disease epidemic that has devastated the wild population.
If you already have a desert tortoise, and need a CDFW permit, please click desert tortoise permit application form, now available as a PDF on this website. The permit application consists of a fillable PDF that can either be completed online and downloaded for printing or downloaded, printed out and completed by hand (print legibly, please) or on a typewriter.
CTTC Adoption Chairpersons require would-be desert tortoise adoptees to complete the CDFW Permit Application form when they receive a tortoise so that all desert tortoises placed by CTTC are tagged. Permits have been issued for over 30,000 animals in California.
1. If you already possess a desert tortoise and need a permit application, please download a CDFW Permit Application form from the CTTC website.
2. Complete all pages of the permit application form.
3. Include a photograph of the tortoise in your permit application package.
4. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for processing.
5. Mail the completed package to this address:
California Turtle and Tortoise Club (CTTC)
P.O. Box 1753
Chino, CA 91708-1753.
CTTC also offers a Combined Desert Tortoise Adoption and Permit Application Forms, available as a PDF on the CTTC website for persons wanting to adopt a desert tortoise. This document consists of a two-page desert tortoise adoption application and the CDFW permit application. Fill out all pages completely, sign and date, and mail the whole package to your CTTC Chapter. If you don’t know the Chapter mailing address, you will find it at the bottom of page 2 on the Adoption Application or in column 2 of this page under the heading "CTTC Chapter Contact Information".