What Are Some Fun Facts About the Sulcata Tortoise?


Quick Answer

The sulcata tortoise goes by many names, including the African spurred tortoise, spurred tortoise and grooved tortoise. The sulcata tortoise is the third largest tortoise in the world and the largest in continental Africa. In the wild, they live in North Central Africa and parts of the Sahara Desert.

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Full Answer

The Latin word "sulcata" means "furrow." The term refers to the furrows in the creature's scales. The name "spurred tortoise" probably comes from the spurs on the creature's hind legs. The sulcata tortoise belongs to the class Reptilia, the order Testudines, the family Testidinidae, the genus Geochelone and the species sulcata. The sulcata tortoise can grow to be 30 inches long and can weigh up to 150 pounds, although the male is often larger and heavier than the female.

The natural habitat of the sulcata tortoise includes dry scrubland. The creature beats the heat by living in deep, cool burrows extending up to 10 feet under the surface. The tortoise usually comes out at dawn and dusk to feed on grass and other plant material.

As of 2015, the sulcata tortoise is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, classified as vulnerable in the wild. Some people keep sulcata tortoises as pets.

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