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Animals found in California's Deserts. Desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizi-Like many desert creatures, desert tortoises spend most of their lives "holed up." In spring and summer, they roam grazing on grasses and wildflowers, then head for their burrows when it gets too hot. In fall and winter, when it is cold and there is not much to eat, they stay burrowed in for six months or more at a time.