Reptiles

Spurred Tortoise

Geochelone sulcata


Class Reptilia   Spurred Tortoise
Order Testudines
Distribution Along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert
Habitat Dry savannas
Conservation Status Listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
Behaviour Being the largest continental tortoise species in the world, they may reach 76 cm in length. The anterior marginal scutes of mature adults, especially male, are reverted. The growth rings on the carapaces are well defined. The anterior surface of the forelimbs is covered with thick, large, knobby and overlapping scales. Spurred Tortoises dig burrows for retreat to avoid the unbearable heat and dehydration. They are most active at dawn or dusk and may bask in the early morning. When mating, the male first circles the female and will occasionally ram her with his shell. Up to 17 eggs are laid per clutch and incubation takes 212 days.
Diet Herbivorous. Mainly feed on succulent plants.
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