Everything You Need to Know About Sulcata Tortoise

Are you in search of a funny and courageous pet? Sulcata tortoise is the best choice. This tortoise is a popular pet due to its unique personality. This tortoise is very social and has a lifespan of over 100 years. You can enjoy a lifelong relationship with this tortoise.

Sulcata tortoise is a curious pet and has a habit of roaming all around the house. They are the third-largest tortoise species in the world.

These tortoise thrive well in a warm climate and large areas. They can be kept outdoors and are submissive.

This article will tell you how to care for this tortoise specie so that you can enjoy your loving moments with this companion.


Sulcata tortoise is also known as African Spurred Tortoise. It has a brown, thick shell and skin with spurs on the legs. Natural Sulcata Tortoise habitat is the Sahara Desert of Africa and sub lands of Mali, Ethiopia, and Sudan. The word Sulcata originated from Latin that means furrow.

African Sulcata Tortoise is a giant mainland tortoise having 24-30 inches in length. They weigh up to 110 pounds. The lifespan of this tortoise is more than 70 years. Hence, they are heavy, strong, and lifetime pets.

The species is endangered and adapted to scorching weather. Sulcata Desert Tortoise conserves energy, due to which they can survive for weeks without food.

Nature and Appearance

These tortoises are strong and want a large area to roam around. They burrow holes to stay away from heat. This tortoise specie loves to climb. You should make sure that there is nothing around for them to climb. In an attempt to climb, they may flip over, and it may harm the animal.

Anything colorful and small enough will attract the tortoise, and it will eat it voraciously. So, you will have to take care that they don’t eat something dangerous. There are some amazing types of this tortoise, such as albino and ivory.

The Albino Sulcata Tortoise usually grows fast. They are gorgeous and active whereas the Ivory Tortoise is also a popular pet in the US. These tortoises are a result of rare mutations in the genes. Hence, these types are not common.

A female Sulcata Tortoise is smaller than the males and has a shorter tail. Males have deep concavity to the plastron. Females get 24-30 inches long while males are slightly larger. Large Salcata Tortoise can weigh up to 100 pounds.

Tortoises want to stay in someplace crowded with plants. You can make Sulcata Tortoise Substrate having smooth rocks, plants, weeds, and woods.

What to Feed Sulcata Tortoise?

This species is an herbivore and known as “eating machines.” You should feed them a diet with 90% of different green plants and 20% of roots, cuttlefish bone, fruits, and vegetables.  The plants should be high in fiber but low in protein components.

Sulcata Tortoise

What is Sulcata Tortoise’s Food?

For proper growth and development of your pet, you should know what does this tortoise eat. Its diet usually consists of grass and hay. Here is a food list:

  • Orchard Grass
  • Bermuda grass
  • Rye
  • Oat Hay
  • Timothy
  • Shrubs
  • Lettuce
  • Berseem
  • Morning glory leaves
  • Kale
  • Dandelion
  • Mustard
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas with skin
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Nasturtium
  • Rose petals
  • Clover
  • Geraniums
  • Cactus pads

Best food for Sulcata Tortoise also contains calcium and vitamin D3 supplements to the veggies once a week.

For a baby tortoise, you can make a salad for a week at one time and refrigerate it. Give enough of that frozen salad every day that some of it should be left at the end of the day. This way, you can make sure that your pet is getting enough die for proper growth.

What Should Sulcata Tortoise Not Eat?

  • Make sure that the grass they feed is pesticide- and herbicide-free.
  • Alfalfa hay can cause bladder stones and kidney failure.
  • Parsley, spinach, collard Green, rhubarb, beet green, and kale use should be limited. These greens contain oxalates that can cause kidney problems.
  • You should keep Inedible things with bright colors away from the tortoise.

Sulcata Tortoise House and Bedding

Spacious outdoor sulcata tortoise enclosure and muddy wallow are ideal for keeping this large, strong pet. Gaint Salcata Tortoise outruns your small tortoise indoor enclosure and needs a spacious area for proper growth. If you plan to keep For Sulcata African Tortoise setup, you will need to have the following arrangements:

  • Two feet tall fence that is also 1 foot underground.
  • A small shelter to protect from rain or wind.
  • A muddy lie about for defecation.

It is also possible to make Sulcata Tortoise enclosure indoor with the dedication of one room to them. It adapts to high temperatures. They a hot environment for proper growth and thrive best at 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Night temperature can be 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The adult’s enclosure should be 80 square feet. However, for young tortoises, you can use a glass aquarium or a plastic tub with substrates like dirt, aspen pellets, or alfalfa pellets.

Sulcata Tortoise

The ultraviolet light is necessary for their strong bones. The lighting for the this tortoise can help it to stay healthy and prevent diseases. However, if you make a sulcate tortoise enclosure outdoor, it might not need special arrangements for light.

Too much humidity also causes harm to this kind as it can lead to fungal infections. However, you should soak your tortoise in the water at least twice weekly to make their skin healthy. Hence, the Sulcata Tortoise substrate should contain warmth, shine, and humidity.

Adopting Sulcata Tortoise

You can buy Sulcata Tortoise from many Tortoise Rescue Organizations. The cost of these tortoises is from 50$-200$. The points that you should keep in mind while adopting a tortoise are:

  • Ask the Sulcata Tortoise breeders about the health history of the tortoise.
  • Ask the caregiver to feed it and see if it eats properly or else it is diseased.
  • Clear eyes
  • Smooth shell

Raising Sulcata Tortoise Hatchlings

For a juvenile Sulcata tortoise, you can make a bed of sand and earth. Cypress mulch, aspen mulch, and orchid bark can also serve as nice bedding.

For hygiene, you should change the bedding weekly. Also, try to clean their Sulcata Tortoise food scraps daily. You can soak them in shallow, warm water for about 15-30 minutes for good hydration. Repeat it twice a week to keep them from drying out.

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