top of page

Sulcata Tortoise

The Sulcata Tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata) is also known as the African Spurred Tortoise. It is the world's 3rd largest tortoise!

Sulcata Tortoise

Origin: -Central Africa
-found at the southern edge of the Sahara desert

Size: -On average, adults reach a size of 61 to 70 cm (24 to 30 in).
-Weight ranges from 30 to 91 kg (70 to 200 lbs.). Sometimes even heavier.

Diet: -Herbivores
-Sulcatas feed mainly on grasses and plants. They require a high fiber, low
protein diet.

Behavior: -Crepuscular
-Sulcatas will excavate burrows to reach areas with higher moisture and
spend much of the hotter days in these burrows. These tunnels can be
quite deep. Many reach depths of 15 m and can be 30 m long.

Reproduction: -Breeding takes place once the rainy season ends, months September
through November.
-Males will combat each other for breeding rights. They can be quite vocal
during copulation.
-The female will begin searching for nesting locations at about 60 days
after mating. She will search between 5 to 15 days for the perfect nest site.
She will even excavate 4 to 5 different nests before choosing the best one.
Nests are often about 60 cm (2 ft.) in diameter and 7 to 14 cm (3 to 6 in)
deep. Digging the nest can take the female as long as 5 hours!
-The female sulcata will lay an egg every 3 minutes until she is finished.
-Clutch sizes can be anywhere from 15 to 30 eggs. She will fill the nest back in
to incubate the eggs at about 86 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
-The young will hatch after about 8 months (90 to 120 days). When they
hatch, they are as small as 2 to 3 inches and they are completely on their

Lifespan: -Typically, sulcatas live for 70 or more years. They can live past 100!

bottom of page