Common Name: African Spur Thigh Tortoise

Scientific Name: Geochelone sulcata

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Sauropsida

Order: Testudines

Family: Testudinidae

Genus: Geochelone

Species: G. sulcata

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This reptile is one of the biggest African land tortoises. The shell of the tortoise is an oval like shape. The top shell is yellow and brown in color. On the top shell of the tortoise, there are brown outlined designs. These designs are the growth rings. On the bottom the shell is light tan and yellow color with no design. The skin is rough so that the water does not escape. This keeps the animal from dehydration. The legs are short with spine like needles. The tortoises have sharp nails. They can weigh up to 80-110 pounds. They can grow to lengths of up to two and a half feet long.

 

The sulcata tortoises like to live in hot regions and hates moist or wet areas or cold weather. In the wild, these creatures dig burrows because of draught and the burrows keep this animal cool. They live underground for months. These tortoises need things to climb on in their environment. They need large amounts of space. The spurred tortoises are growing in the parks that people keep them in. These animals use to have a low population because they climbed up to steep objects and fall on there backs. There are thousands of them living in Africa.

 

These animals eat dark leaves, grass, and lettuces. If they are in a park, they can get fruit for a treat. These animals are 100 percent herbivores. They compete with other tortoises for the vegetation. The creatures that are a major threat to these tortoises are snakes and raccoons. The way they can eat them is when they sleep these creatures sneak up on them.

 

This creature has one way to protect it self and it is to duck into his shell. He cannot run away because he is to slow. I loved studying this animal because he has an awesome way to defend himself. In addition, he can climb objects for fun. The average life span of this creature is 80 - 100 years.

 

Author: Austin C

Published: 02/2007

 

References “World Chelonian Trust” year 2003 “Google images” http://www.pbase.com September 14, 2006 “Google images” http://de.inmagine.com Year 2006 “Google images” http://www2.flickr.com June 21, 2006 “African Spurred Tortoise” http://whozoo.org