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Sulcata Tortoise

Sulcata Tortoise

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The Sulcata tortoise is found in Northern Africa and the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. They are also known as the African Spurred Tortoise due to the spurs on their legs.

Sulcatas are herbivores, eating plants for both food and water intake. In the wild, their diet consists of grasses, cacti, weeds and flowers. In zoos, they eat a range of grasses, weeds and leafy greens.

The Sulcata is well adapted to withstand the challenges of its habitat. Firstly, they are well camouflaged with sandy colouration all over. They can also burrow deep into the sand when it is too hot or cold to prevent dehydration and overheating. They can stay in their burrows for long periods of time, depending mostly on metabolic water and moisture from food to stay hydrated. Once temperatures rise to higher than 40 °C, they can smear saliva on their forearms to cool down. Sulcatas are most active during dawn and dusk and often bask in the morning sun to raise their body temperature after being cold overnight.

Fun fact: the Sulcata tortoise is the third biggest species of tortoise in the world, after the Galapagos tortoise and the Aldabra tortoise.