Scientific Name: geochelone sulcata
Habitat: arid plains and grasslands
Diet: spiny plants, grasses, carrion
Life Span: unknown, longer than 100 years
Young: 15-30 eggs per clutch
Size: up to 105 kg

The African Spurred Tortoise lives in hot, arid environments ranging from desert fringes to dry savannah. They are found along the southern edge of the African Sahara.

The African Spurred Tortoise is the largest African mainland tortoise, and are the third largest tortoise in the world. Their thick skin color is golden to yellow-brown, and they have large, overlapping scales on their front legs. Their rear legs, have spurs, giving them their name.They have broad, oval, flattened carapaces that are yellow to brown in color.

Excellent diggers, the African Spurred Tortoise, uses its long burrows for shelter from the sun, and for dormancy during the dry season.

African Spurred Tortoises are aggressive toward each other, especially during when breeding. Males ram each other repeatedly in an attempt to flip the each other over. Nesting season is in the autumn. The female creates a depression approximately half a meter in diameter and 7 – 14 cm deep. She may dig four or five nest before picking the “right” one. Her clutch size may reach 15 – 30 eggs, sometimes more. These eggs must incubate underground for eight months before they hatch.

To learn more, visit Animal Diversity Web or stop by the Edmonton Valley Zoo.