Sulcata tortoise Facts

Sulcata tortoise Facts
Sulcata tortoise, also known as African spurred tortoise, is the largest mainland tortoise in Africa. It can be found in the southern parts of Sahara. Sulcata tortoise inhabits deserts, dry savannas and hot, arid areas. This animal is a symbol of longevity, fertility and happiness in Senegal. Unfortunately, number of sulcata tortoise in the wild is decreasing due to habitat loss, over-collecting from the wild (due to pet trade) and poaching (because of their shells and body parts). Sulcata tortoise is listed as vulnerable, which means that it may become endangered in the near future.
Interesting Sulcata tortoise Facts:
Sulcata tortoise can reach 24 to 36 inches in length and 100 to 200 pounds of weight.
Sulcata tortoise has thick skin that is usually golden brown or sand-colored. Upper part of the shell (carapace) is brown colored.
Sulcata tortoise has broad and oval carapace that consists of large scales called scutes. Each scute is covered with growth rings. Number of rings corresponds to the age of tortoise.
Sulcata tortoise is also known as spurred tortoise because of two to three conical spurs on the back side of the thighs. Front legs are covered with large scales.
Sulcata tortoise is herbivore (plant-eater). Its diet is based on succulent plants and various types of grasses.
Sulcata tortoise is crepuscular animal (active at dusk and dawn).
Activity of sulcata tortoise depends on the season. It is mostly active during the rainy season (from July to October) when food and water are available. It basks in the sun in the early morning to increase body temperature and provide energy required for regular daily activities.
Sulcata tortoise spends hottest part of the day and dry season in aestivation (period of dormancy during extremely dry and hot period of day or year). It digs 30 inches deep burrows or creates complex tunnels that may reach depth of 10 feet. Hatchlings use abandoned mammalian burrows to hide from the excessive heat.
Mating season takes place from September to November (after the rainy season).
Sulcata tortoises are aggressive by nature. Ramming behavior can be seen from the moment of birth and it becomes especially pronounced during the mating season.
Sixty days after mating, female starts to dig nests. She creates at least 4 to 5 shallow depressions in the ground over a period of few days. At the end, she picks one location, lays 15 to 30 eggs and covers them with soil.
Incubation period lasts 90 to 120 days. Hatchlings are 2 to 3 inches long at birth.
Sulcata tortoise grows quickly. It doubles its size every three years. Sulcata tortoises reach sexual maturity at the age of 15 years.
Sulcata tortoises are popular, but demanding house pets.
Sulcata tortoise can survive from 50 to 150 years in the wild.

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