African Spurred Tortoise
Geochelone sulcata

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Chelonia
FAMILY: Testudinidae

SIZE:
2.5 feet.

RANGE:
Africa on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert.

HABITAT:
Dry savannahs.

DIET:
Wild - Succulent plants and coarse vegetation.
Zoo - Romaine lettuce, fruit, vegetables, tortoise chow.

DESCRIPTION:
Large tortoise whose carapace is tan to light brown with the scutes being darker on their outer edges then becoming lighter in the middle. The oval carapace is high-domed and flattened in the center. The plastron is cream to yellowish in color with some darker pattern. The head, legs, and tail are yellowish tan. The forelegs have large knobby scales at the front, while the hind legs have two or three greatly enlarged tubercles on the inner thigh (the spurs).

FACTS:
They are the third largest tortoise.

To avoid the heat and keep from desiccation, sulcatas dig long and deep burrows.

Water is obtained from the food they eat as most of their habitat is dry.

YOUNG:
As many as 50 eggs are laid in the autumn or winter and hatch after about 150 to 212 days.

STATUS:
CITES Appendix II, becoming rare in large parts of range.

REFERENCE:
Turtles of the World.Carl H. Ernest and Roger W. Barbour.