Drought Among Threats To Texas Tortoise

BROWNSVILLE (June 16, 2013)--The Texas tortoise, which is listed as a threatened species in the state, is facing various challenges, including drought, disease and speeding motorists.

Three years of extreme drought in South Texas, the Texas tortoise's home, might be taking a toll on the species.

Pat Burchfield, director of the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownville, says with turtle eggs, temperature determines sex, and if the extreme heat continues, that is going to result in more female tortoises.

The drought might also make the Texas tortoise, the only tortoise species in the state, more susceptible to fungal lung infections, but officials say the greatest danger to Texas tortoises remains humans who speed down highways in their vehicles.

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