African Spurred Tortoise Facts!

Tilly is an African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone Sulcata), also called the Sulcata Tortoise. She is the third largest Tortoise in the world and the largest Tortoise found in Africa. They can weigh up to 200lb (90kg) and live as long as 100 years. Tilly is 40 years of age so she is the eldest of her group of friends.

Tortoises are a very old species and have been around for roughly 220,000,000 years!

Spurred Tortoises can grow up to 80cms (31 inches) in length. They are quite an aggressive tortoise. From the moment they are born they ram into each other and try to knock the other one onto its back.

Tortoises are cold blooded which means they warm themselves up by drawing heat from their environment.

A Tortoise shell is made up of around 60 bones which are covered by plates. The shell is made from Keratin which is what our fingernails are made from.

African Spurred Tortoises feed on grasses and leafy greens. They can go several days without water.

Tilly loves to burrow underground where she is protected and can cool down away from the mid day sun. She can make burrows that are up to 10 feet deep (3 metres). She has sharp claws at the end of her feet which are perfect for digging these large burrows.


African Spurred Tortoises are classed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. This is mainly due to habitat loss and they make a popular pet in Europe and North America. They don’t reach maturity until around the age of 15 and are often taken from the wild before they reach this age. This means they are unable to reproduce in the wild before they are taken and put into the pet trade.

If you would like information on how to help protect African wildlife then please visit the Wildlife Conservation Society – https://www.wcs.org/our-work/places/africa

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Tilly The Tortoise Tried


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