SULCATA OR AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE
Sulcata Tortoises are native to more northern parts of Africa, ranging from the southern edge of the Sahara down through the arid countries. The Sulcata is the largest of the African mainland tortoises, with adults easily reaching 24-30 inches and 80-110 pounds. The largest on record was a male who weighed in at 232 pounds and measured 41 inches. The oldest recorded Sulcata in captivity was 54 years of age. Sulcatas are evenly brownish or yellowish in color. As they age, the growth rings are strongly marked. Well-defined spurs, which serve no function, are present on the back of the rear legs. Their skin is very thick which may serve to reduce fluid loss through transpiration. Sulcatas come from the hottest, driest area in Africa. Some areas may not get rain for years. To make the most of available moisture, their skin is resistant to fluid loss but, when exposed to moisture, may become highly permeable. A Sulcata may urinate just 0.64 ml per day. In captivity, a similarly hot and dry environment must be provided year round. Unlike the California desert tortoise, the Sulcatas do not hibernate. While they can tolerate low temperatures, they cannot be allowed to get both chilled and wet. Sulcatas grow very quickly, reaching their full growth within15-20 years. They are the third largest species of tortoises in the world and the largest species of mainland tortoise (not found on an island).