The Dog, The Cat and The Tortoise…

Aesop, our desert tortoise

It has been a week since we adopted Aesop, our desert tortoise.

I must admit that I initially thought that tortoises were rather boring.  But, Aesop is anything but.

our desert tortoise (Aesop)

our desert tortoise (Aesop)

Our backyard is fairly big and Aesop has been busy exploring every nook and cranny.

Yesterday, I had a rare day where I was able to sit at my computer and write all day.  When I would pause now and then to look outside, I often saw Aesop making his way across the lawn toward his favorite clump of shrubs or sitting eating grass.

our desert tortoise (Aesop)

In the afternoon, when I looked out the window to see where he was, I was surprised to see him on the patio, looking in the window at me!

Besides hanging out underneath our shrubs and eating grass, Aesop likes to drink water and has even tried some cilantro.


Last evening, we were alerted to Aesop’s presence by our smallest dog, Tobey, who gets very excited whenever he sees him walking.  But this time, Tobey seem extra agitated.

When I looked out the window, I saw Aesop entertaining a visitor…

feral cats

One of the feral cats who visit our garden from time to time, was standing a couple of feet away from Aesop.  It was obvious that the cat had never seen a tortoise before and didn’t quite know what to make of him.

Aesop didn’t seem intimidated by the cat’s presence as he was busy eating grass.

We are enjoying Aesop’s adventures and are so happy with our decision to adopt him!

Meet “Aesop” Our Sonoran Desert Tortoise

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."
3 replies
  1. Brian Derrick
    Brian Derrick says:

    This is so awesome! I have always wanted to do this and you have given me the info needed to actually do it! Are there any plants that are toxic to Aesop? I assume datura would be, maybe nightshades. Have you had to remove any plants for Aesop?

  2. says:

    Hi Brian,

    Great questions. Desert tortoises prefer native plants and grasses. I didn't have to get rid of any plants in our garden. Aesop primarily eats Bermuda grass and the leaves from our globe mallow plant. You can find more info about their diet at this link:

    *Tortoises are only adopted out until the end of September since they hibernate in October. If you are interested, I highly recommend it 🙂

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