African Spurred Tortoise

The African Spurred Tortoise is also known as the Grooved Tortoise, the Spur Tortoise and the African Spur Thigh Tortoise. It is a desert-dwelling tortoise whose range extends along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert from Senegal and Mauritania, east through Mali, Chad, the Sudan and Ethiopia to Eritrea.

African Spurred Tortoises are herbivores and their diet consists of desert succulents, dried leaves and grass and particularly leaves from the Morning-Glory plant.

Males are quite aggressive in nature and will ram and bite each other while vocalising grunts, croaks and whistles Even from the moment these tortoises hatch they are aggressive with each other and try to flip each over on to their shells.

Mating usually occurs during February to March. After a gestation period of 60 days, the female searches for a suitable nesting place and begins to lay between 15-30 eggs. The nests are then filled in and the eggs completely covered. Incubation lasts 212 days (around 8 months) and hatchlings emerge from the eggs 1-3 days after a rainfall, usually at night. It can take 3-10 days for the hatchlings to reach the surface of the nest.

African Spurred Tortoise @ Safari Niagara

  • Our African Spurred Tortoise can be found in an outdoor exhibit at Papa Steve’s Family Farm.

Scientific Classification

Species:Centrochelys Sulcata

Did you know?

  • The African Spurred Tortoise is known to get excited and run around just before it rains.
  • Female tortoises can raise their shell up off the ground and then drop it with a thud.
  • They are named after the spur like scales on their forelimbs that act as protection when they tuck into their shell.