SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is now accepting applications to adopt some Mojave desert tortoises.

According to the DWR, the tortoise is native to areas west of the Colorado River including Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. The tortoise is protected under state and federal laws after being placed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

In Utah, it is illegal to collect and remove desert tortoises from the wild and illegal to release captive tortoises back into the wild or transport them without proper certifications.

The DWR states that the Utah Desert Tortoise Adoption Program began in 1990 after the tortoises were placed on the Endangered Species list. This year the program received almost 20 tortoises available for adoption.

“Captive tortoises make great pets,” DWR Wildlife Biologist Ann McLuckie said. “They have their own unique personality, they will gladly eat the weeds in your backyard and they are fairly independent as long as they have shade and food. They also hibernate for roughly five months out of the year, making them a fairly low-maintenance pet.”

If you are interested in adopting a tortoise visit the DWR website here.