African Spurred Tortoise (Centrochelys Sulcata)
IUCN: Red List: Vulnerable
The African Spurred Tortoise or Sulcata Tortoise is the largest tortoise of the African mainland and is surpassed in size only by the giant island species of Aldabra & Galapagos. A desert dwelling reptile with a sandy coloration, the African Spurred tortoise earn their name from the distinguishing spurs located on their front legs which they use to burrow deep into the ground of the Saharan deserts they inhabit.
Native to the Sahara Desert and arid regions including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal & Sudan, these tortoise are excellent burrowers who spend the hottest part of the day deep underground to access areas with high moisture. Feeding primarily on a diet of succulent plants rich in water such as cactus
Males among the species regularly engage in combat, ramming & even biting each other for the right to mate with a female. They are generally vocal during copulation, bellowing loudly in a grisly tone as they mount their mates. Being the lumbering giants that they are, Sulcatas move rather slowly as they drag their enormous weight across the Saharan desert.
- Why is it called a spurred tortoise? This is because of the ‘sticky outy’ bits (technical term), or spurs, on its hind legs.
- Sulcata comes from the Latin word sulcus which means ‘furrow’. This refers to the furrows, or deep lines, on their shells.
- It’s the third largest species of tortoise in the world. Only the Galapagos tortoise and the Aldabra giant tortoise are bigger.
- They are capable of going weeks without food or water. When they do find it, boy can they drink, consuming up to 15% of their body weight.
- Once the nest is dug, the female begins to lay an egg every three minutes. Clutches may contain 15–30 or more eggs. After the eggs are laid, the female fills in the nest, taking an hour or more to fully cover them all. Incubation should be 86 to 88 °F, and will take from 90 to 120 days.
Fruits & Vegetables
|Size:||Up to 80cm|
|Weight:||Up to 90kg|
|Lifespan:||Up to 5Oyears|