Sulcata Tortoise Care Sheet

Before purchasing your new pet sulcata tortoise for sale, please make sure you find an experienced captive bred sulcata tortoise breeder and due your homework researching proper African Spurred tortoise care.

Range: Arid, sparse areas of sub-saharan Africa

Lifespan: 80-100 years

Size: A very large tortoise or 24-30 inches

Appearance: Males can be larger than females. Adult males have deep concavity in posterior half of plastron, with long, thin tails tipped by a horny curving spur. Females have a more rounded appearance with features that are not so exaggerated and a short, blunt tail. Adults’ carapace is a uniform brown to horn. Their plastron, head and limbs are a uniform yellowish. Juveniles have a pale yellow carapace with brown on the scutes, a yellow-white plastron and lighter areoles on the carapace plates.

Housing: Due to their large size, housing these tortoises inside can be quite impractical. Please consider this carefully prior to purchasing. The most useful form of indoor accommodation for a hatchling is a tortoise table. A reasonable size for a hatchling is 2 foot by 2 foot, however they will outgrow this very quickly (at 3 years old they can exceed 12 inches). As the animal grows the size of its habitat needs to be increased. Holes can be cut into the bottom of your tortoise table to allow for the sinking of food and water dishes, making them flush with the surface for easier animal access. The water dish in the habitat should be large enough to allow the tortoise to soak in, whilst remaining shallow enough to protect from drowning. For an adult African Spurred tortoise the indoor habitat should be at lease 8 foot by 8 foot! An outdoor heated shed or greenhouse is sometimes a better option for an adult Afican Spurred tortoise. During hot summer days allow your tortoise to roam in a predator free enclosed garden. Because of their large size and grazing habits, these tortoises will greatly benefit to being outdoors when the climate allows it. Ensure that there is adequate shade, hiding spots, and access to a shallow dish of water. A dry grassy area that allows grazing is ideal.These large tortoises need a sturdy fence that extends underground due to their tendancy to burrow. Daytime temperatures can be up to 100 F and night time temperatures should not drop below 70 degrees F. A shallow dish of water should be provided at all times, and a muddy wallow may be used as well.

As a substrate a mixture of topsoil and childrens play sand or cypress bark works well, but for this and other arid loving species the best substrate is grass hay. Hay is easily maintained and provides nourishment if they nibble it. This must be kept dry as African Spurred tortoises cannot tolerate wet or constant high humidity conditions. If sand is used in the substrate this area should also not have food placed directly upon it as the sand can build up in the tortoises GI tract leading to possible impaction and even death. A completely separate sand-free area in the habitat should be utilized to feed.

In one corner of the environment a heat spot lamp should be positioned to provide artificial basking facilities. This should be positioned to provide a basking spot of 90 degrees F in that section of the habitat, while the rest of the enclosure can be heated to 80-90 F during the day with a drop at night. Heating sources should always be run through a thermostat. The enclosure should also be equipped with a full spectrum fluorescent light to provide for UVB. A UVB source is necessary for Vitamin D3 syntheses (needed in calcium metabolism). There should be a hide box located in the corner away from the basking spot to allow the animal a cooler dim retreat.

Diet: African Spurred tortoises are herbivorous, grazing tortoises and need a high fiber, low protein diet. At least 75% of their diet should be given as grasses and hays, along with some edible weeds and flowers. Small amounts of other leafy green vegetables are okay, but avoid foods high in oxalates.


* Orchard grass or hay

* Timothy or Bermuda Grass

* Dandelion greens

* Clove

* Cactus pads

* Edible flowers


* Fruits

* Spinach

* Grains (bread, pasta etc)

* Human foods

* Dog and cat food or any animal protein

UVB levels in the tortoises natural habitat are vastly higher than anything we experience in the UK, so food must be lightly dusted with a vitamin and mineral supplement which contains vitamin D3 and calcium daily. Cuttlebone is a good source of calcium and can be left in the enclosure at all times.

Additional: African Spurred tortoises do not hibernate. Make sure there are no steep surfaces or steps that the tortoise can climb on as they can tip over onto their backs and be unable to get back up.

As with any new pet, it is highly recommended that you take your new tortoise to a vet with exotics experience for a health check up. Problems and health issues in chelonian are often hidden and your pet may appear healthy at first. It is also recommended that you measure and weigh your tortoise on a regular basis. Please only buy your tortoise from a genuine suclata tortoise breeder.

Sulcata tortoises are some of the most beautiful of all tortoises for sale.  When considering any tortoise for sale, or turtles for sale, captive bred baby tortoises for sale and turtles for sale should be your only consideration instead of wild caught.  Some of the best tortoise breeder in the world only work with captive bred animals.  Whether it be huge sulcata tortoise for sale, or small russian tortoise for sale, we are your source for the best of the best!