African Spurred Tortoise

African Spurred Tortoise

Range: Southern edge of the Sahara Desert in Africa
Diet: grasses, flowers, and cacti
Weight: 79-220 pounds
Size: 24-30 inches
Life Span: 80-100 years

They are known as African Spurred Tortoises due to the small spurs that grow on their hind legs.  They have another name, the Sulcata Tortoise

They are the 3rd largest tortoise in the world and the largest on the mainland.  They are surpassed only by the island dwelling Aldabra and Galapagos Tortoises.

Their native habitat often reaches temperatures as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. To combat this, they live a crepuscular lifestyle – they are most active at dawn and dusk. They spend the remainder of the day in underground burrows that often reach or exceed 10 feet in depth. These burrows are moist and stay much cooler than above-ground temperatures, typically measuring in the mid 70’s.  Many desert animals use abandoned tortoise burrows to take refuge from the scorching heat of the day.

African Spurred Tortoises can go weeks without food or water. When they do find a source of water, they can drink up to 15% of their total body weight!