Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa Welcomes 4-Legged Guest

Scooter the Tortoise finds a high-class home

Scooter will be officially welcomed July 24 at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage.

Photo Courtesy of Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa


No one says hotel guests can only come with two legs.

The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa has taken on a permanent guest called Scooter, a 15-year-old African spurred tortoise.

He will be officially welcomed at 9:45 a.m. July 24 by Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa’s General Manager Randy Zupanski, Rancho Mirage Mayor Iris Smotrich and members of the city council. The public is invited to attend.

Guests will be able to find Scooter adjacent to the Las Brisas swimming pool in a cool and shaded area.

The African spurred tortoise is native to the southern edge of the Sahara desert in North Africa in an area similar in climate to the Colorado Desert and the Coachella Valley.

This species of tortoise can grow to 200 pounds and live for about 150 years. In warmer weather they burrow in sand and have been known to dig up to 10 feet deep in the arid regions of Africa, but in this climate they are generally active and curious foragers.

The resort will offer informal educational talks about the tortoise and the desert environment to kids participating in The Westin Kids Club, beginning this fall.

“We are welcoming Scooter home to The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa where he will be very well-­cared for,” says Dennis Borja, director of fun for The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa. “In our efforts to educate our guests about the desert environment and eco-­‐systems, the arrival of Scooter is living proof that reptiles can and do flourish in an arid environment.”

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