Why Did The Tortoise Cross The Road?

desert tortoise

To be honest, I have never wondered why before, until I met a desert tortoise who wanted to cross a road.

desert tortoise

Desert Tortoise, Stock Photo

My encounter with a desert tortoise occurred while I was on my way home in the late afternoon and I was traveling from a rather isolated community in the desert.  

I had just turned onto a two lane road when I noticed something starting to walk into the road ahead.  I slowed down and as I got closer I saw that it was a tortoise.

Well, there were several cars behind me who could not see the tortoise.  At the rate he was traveling, he was not going to survive to make it to the other side.  So, I stopped my car, put on my emergency blinker lights, and got out, lifted him up and carried him to the other side.  

On my way back to my car, I was rewarded by the smiles of those stuck in their cars behind mine once they saw why I had stopped.

So, why did the tortoise cross the road?  I still wonder why to this day….

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
19 replies
  1. Nell Jean
    Nell Jean says:

    He could have been going for water, or where the food was tastier. Another rhetorical question: Why do tortoises like to make their burrows along the right of way of a busy highway?

    Are desert tortoises a protected species? Gopher tortoises here are. In fact, they are the Georgia state reptile.

  2. Kate
    Kate says:

    An exceptional good deed! How sweet of you to stop traffic and save his precious life. I love turtles… they're so cute and pokey..

  3. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Well lucky him. A few weeks ago I was driving on the highway and wondered what was this brown lump in the middle of the road-I saw it was a tortoise crossing just in time to swerve and avoid him/her.
    The happiest I ever was for stopping was one night at midnight, driving on a rural road, my husband noticed a tiny lump in the middle of the road, he thought it might e a frog, but he said something told him it might be an animal, to stop. Well luckily we did as it was a little puppy! We learned from the guys hanging out on the road ( at midnight) that she and her sister were thrown away in the river by their mother's owner just that night, can you imagine the will to live-to crawl out the river and try to cross the road?!
    The guys went in the river and fetched the other little one and we got good homes for both pups.

  4. Liza
    Liza says:

    Nice job! I grew up in Indiana, and was forever finding box turtles in the road. I didn't care if there were 20 cars behind me – I always stopped and moved them off into the ditch. I love turtles! Thanks for saving that tortoise, you did a great service!

  5. blue
    blue says:

    Living in a region where the ground is too wet for most of the winter, it seems strange to voluntarily flood your garden! My dog would love it!
    Thankyou for visiting my blog and I already joined Blotanical earlier this week, I'm really enjoying visiting lots of really lovely gardens .

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Awww, that is so kind hearted of you Noelle. I would have done the same. I hate to see wildlife crushed on the roadways. Great eye-sight to spot him.

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