The Sulcata Tortoise is also known as the African Spurred Tortoise. This species of tortoise inhabits the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in northern Africa. The Sulcata Tortoise is the largest mainland tortoise, the third largest of any species of tortoise and the only species in the genus Centrochelys. The name Sulcata derives from the Latin word Sulca meaning “furrow” and refers to the furrows on the tortoise’s scales.
Native to the Sahara Desert, the Sulcata Tortoise burrows into the ground about 2-3 feet deep to reach higher moisture levels and will spend the hottest part of the day in their burrows, some have even dug tunnels 10 feet long. Adults can reach over 2.5 feet and weigh around 230 pounds. The Sulcata Tortoise have a lifespan of anywhere from 50 to 150 years. Currently, the oldest living Sulcata Tortoise in captivity is 54 years old. As herbivores, the Sulcata Tortoise diet consists of many type of plants and grasses that are low in protein and high in fiber, fruits should be avoided.