Texas tortoise dealing with drought, other dangers

June 17, 2013 2:09:28 AM PDT
The Texas tortoise -- a state-listed threatened species -- is facing various challenges, including drought conditions, disease and speeding motorists.

The Brownsville Herald reports 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 speeding down highways.

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