Meet Cortez the Desert Tortoise!


Cortez is a Desert Tortoise commonly found in the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. Although his age is unknow, Cortez is AT LEAST 20 years old. His diet consists of native grasses, dark greens and cactus fruits. Cortez suffers from Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD.) MBD can cause irregular growth in bones, shells, or tails in tortoises. The animal care staff was able to identify his MBD by the indents on his shell. They also presume Cortez was captured, treated as a pet in a small, confined space. Then, re-released back into the wild before he arrived at The Schiele.

Cortez was donated to The Schiele in January 2009. Civillians discovered him on the side of the road in Belmont, North Carolina. Cortez’s shell was painted blue when found, and some paint still remains permanently. 

You can find Cortez in educational programs.

Another way to care for our Animal Ambassadors!

Want to send treats or animal enrichment STRAIGHT to Yuki? Purchase items off our Amazon Wishlist & they will be sent directly to The Schiele!

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Click here to visit our Animal Ambassadors Amazon Wishlist!



Animal Ambassadors Mission

By providing a second chance at life to non-releasable and unwanted animals, The Schiele is able to provide education, inspiration and hope for the next generation.