African Spurred Tortoise (Centrochelys Sulcata)

Conservation status

IUCN: Red List: Vulnerable

Key Descriptions

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

Social Life

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.

Fun Facts


Fruits & Vegetables

Key Information

Size:Up to 80cm
Weight:Up to 90kg
Lifespan:Up to 5Oyears

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