Irrigating the forage plants that grow in the headstart pen not only jump-starts new growth on winter-dormant grasses – and thus important morsels of fresh food for small tortoises – but it also provides the tortoises their first drink in nearly six months following their winter dormancy. Wild tortoises must wait for natural rainfall to refill their tanks. Tortoises are well adapted to surviving long stretches without food or water. Inside their overwinter burrows, they are oriented with their faces toward the end of their tight-fitting burrow to increase the humidity in the microenvironment in front of their face and thus minimize respiratory water loss during the long winter months.  The bolson tortoise is a critically imperiled species that is being restored to Turner’s Ladder and Armendaris ranches.