Bibliography menu squamata scientific classification




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african spurred Tortoise

 




 

 

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

FAST FACTS

FUN FACTS

ECOLOGY & CONSERVATION

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION




COMMON NAME:

African spurred tortoise/ Sulcata tortoise

KINGDOM:

Animalia

PHYLUM:

Chordata

CLASS:

Reptilia

ORDER:

Testudines

FAMILY:

Testudinidae

GENUS SPECIES:

Geochelone sulcata




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FAST FACTS




DESCRIPTION:

This tortoise has a broad, flattened carapace (upper shell) that is yellowish to tan with darker brown bordering individual scutes. Each scute has growth rings that become more pronounced as the tortoise matures. The Sulcata tortoise has thick, yellowish-brown skin and two to three spurs on its hind legs.




SIZE:

Shell length averages more than 60 cm (24 in.) and weighs 68 kg (150 lb.) The largest on record had an 83 cm (33 in.) shell length and weighed 105 kg (231.5 lb.) Males grow larger than females.




DIET:

These tortoises graze mostly on dry grasses, succulents, flowers, and occasionally fruit. They require a high fiber, low protein, and calcium rich diet. They mostly fill their water needs through their diet; however captive Sulcata tortoises require some fresh water to drink.




REPRODUCTION:

The female digs a nest in which she lays 15 to 30 eggs. She then covers the nest. The eggs hatch after about 8 months.




LIFE SPAN:

To 50 or more years.




RANGE:

Southern edge of the Sahara Desert in Northern Africa; from Senegal and Mauritania east through Mali, Nigeria, Chad, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, and along the Red Sea in Eritrea.




HABITAT:

Arid desert regions




POPULATION:

GLOBAL

unknown




STATUS:

IUCN

Vulnerable

CITES

Appendix II

USFWS

Not listed




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FUN FACTS




1.

This species is the largest mainland tortoise and the third largest tortoise in the world. Only the Galapagos and Aldabra tortoises grow larger.

2.

Their thick skin helps to retain moisture. To escape the dry, desert heat, these tortoises burrow into the ground to more than 76 cm (30 in.) deep. These burrows are cooler and damper than the desert air. Other animals often rely on these burrows for shelter.




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ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION




Populations of the Sulcata tortoise have declined or disappeared in several parts of its range, mostly due to human-induced habitat degradation and destruction and also capture for the pet trade.
Sulcata tortoises are popular pets. Due to their adult weight of more than 45.5 kg

(100 lb.), these tortoises can be very challenging pets to house. If you’d like to have one as a pet, be sure you can provide the specific nutritional and environmental requirements to keep this long-living and large tortoise healthy. Also, only purchase domestically-raised (not wild caught) Sulcata tortoises. Turtle and Tortoise Societies can provide homes for unwanted pets.






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