Animal Stories - Sulcata Tortoise

Animal-World Information about: Sulcata Tortoise

   Not only is the African Spurred Tortoise the largest tortoise on the African mainland, it is the third largest tortoise on the planet!
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Kasey - 2011-09-09
I found an African Spurred Tortoise on the side of the road and have been researching him and what I need to do to keep him alive. It must have been someones pet they did not want anymore...

Anyways, he/she has been having wierd stools. It is grey and white and almost looks like paint. He has normal stools too, so I have no idea what this stuff is! Does anyone know what it could be? Is he sick?

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  • Gari - 2011-09-27
    Go to
    They are supposed to poop out the white and you need to soak it.
  • Kenny - 2011-11-25
    This is because the temperature is too low and you tortoise feels cold. Keep him/her warm
    ( above 90 degree ) if possible. If you have a yard with grass on, tortoise can feed itself from this grass. Remember these guys are from African and they love heat and food with high fiber. Very little water though, even others saying so. I live in North ( NY ) and I have my tortoise, Toni for three and will be the 4th winter soon. It's hard to keep Toni warm in the winters and when the heating lamp doesn't work for some time, he'll produce such stools like you've seen.

    Let me know if this helps you.
  • delores imperatrice - 2012-06-22
    We have a sulcata tortoice and we just got it yesterday and a web site says it should have water and the other says no?
  • superbuzz67 - 2013-01-19
    When I got my tortoise (sulcata) 5 years ago I had the same confusion. I keep a water pan in his pen.. He his happy and healthy so I would say water is fine as long as he doesn't show any signs of runny nose.
Shirley - 2012-12-09
I have a Salcata Tortoise that weighs 39 lbs. She ate about 6 landscaping stones about 3 weeks ago (they were about 1' or so in size). She wasn't eating as much as usual so I took her to the vets to have an xray done ( it was very expensive). The stones showed up in the xray. I now have her on a prescription daily for 30 days to move food through her plus I am giving her fiber on the fruit I feed her. So far no stones. She eats something everyday but not much is coming out compared to what she has done in the past. From what I understand, the stones aren't in her stomach but in an area that is like a storage in her. I am concerned about her passing them. Did you ever have anyone with this problem? I wondered if you would have any other suggestions for me. Thank You

lee - 2010-10-07
Can a Sulcata tortoise live outdoor in my garden? I live in California, Los Angeles and the weather is 70 to 90 day time, 40 to 60 night time.

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  • laurie - 2012-11-20
    yes but you have to keep a very close eye on them and if they are not fully grown birds will try to eat them and also sulcata tortoises hate and do not go well with dogs
Edward G - 2012-10-30
My Sulcata Tortoises poop the last two days has been a rust color. Does anyone know what this could mean. Is there blood in it? The reddish color is even throughout the poop. Can anyone help?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-10-30
    Think about what your little guy gas eaten - that is the easy part.  Also, you might want totake a swab of poop and get it checked for parasites at the vets.
Diane Sarvela - 2012-09-30
I am wondering what watt heat lamp I need for my tortoise. He has spent the whole summer outside during the day so I never needed one. Now it is getting cold out and he will not ba able to roam outside. How many hours a day do I need the light on? How far away do I keep the light for him? Thanks Diane

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-09-30
    The wattage of the heat lamp for your Sulcata Tortouse will relate to the size of the terrarium you put him in, but also the temperature of the area you keep the tank in. Generally a larger tank needs a higher wattage than a smaller one, but it may take some experimenting for your particular environment. The environment info above discusses the setup and heating temperatures needed for the warm side of the terrarium. You can use a thermometer, like a glass mounted one sold for fish aquariums, to monitor the temperature on each end of the environment.
Anonymous - 2011-09-16
We have an African Spurred Tortoise that is living in our back yard in Danbury CT. We just moved in and so did it (literally 2 days after we did). I am trying unsuccessfully to find this tortoise a home. We can't keep it as it is rather large and it can't stay outside because it is too cold. Is there anyone on here that would want to come get it? I have contacted numerous organizations but none will take it.

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  • Matt - 2011-09-21
    I would be more than happy to take it. How much would it cost to ship to Florida?
  • Euni - 2011-09-25
    I'll take him off your hands. I have a few tortoises myself. Love reptiles. Where are you located?
  • Joe - 2011-10-02
    Not sure if you found anyone to take your tortoise
    if not I would like to come and get him. Please let me know via email
  • Susan zdilla - 2011-10-04
    Hello I was just wondering if you found the tortoise a home. I currently have a baby and am looking for an adult sulcata tortoise. Please email me anytime.
    susan zdilla
  • Brian - 2011-10-12
    The Pratt NatureCenter in new Milford, CT has an African Spurred Tortise and I'm sure they would be willing to take another. Their number is 860-355-3137
  • Hamilton Brower - 2011-10-12
    Wow. I am writing as of Oct 12, 2011...if you still are in possession of this tortoise, could you please contact me at 917-756-5185 in New Milford or contact Jess, Diane or Pat at the Pratt Nature Center in New Milford, CT at 860-355-3137. THANK YOU!
  • Marilyn - 2011-10-17
    I'm sure my Sulcata would love a friend. I have a huge yard and 3 tortoises. Weather is perfect down here in Miami too for them. If you still have not found it a home I'd be more than happy adopt :) Please contact me at 305-305-8388. Thanks
  • Gabriel Esparza - 2011-10-29
    I have a large backyard and have a 5 yr old spurred tortoise roaming in my yard. If you still looking for a good home, West Covina, California. Great weather all year around. Please contact me. Gabe 626-826-9299.
  • Kim V Smith - 2011-11-06
    I would like to have it I already have one and know how to take care of it.
  • vincent - 2011-11-10
    please contact me i am vincent
  • juan - 2012-02-09
    Do you still have that tortoise ???
  • Heather Horning - 2012-07-26
    I was given a large(nine year old African tortoise and was told it was a female. As a result I bought a male almost as big as 'she' was. It turns out that she attempts to mount the male tortoise, and today I saw clear signs in the genitalia that 'she' is a male. I need a large female tortoise, this time with expert testimony that it is in fact a female. it seems you have had many responses, so you may no longer have the tortoise. Please let me know.
  • Rob Altonea - 2012-08-14
    Hi, I'm very interested in picking up the Sulcatta Tortoise if you still have it , I have a large Sulcatta for 17 years and know how to care for them , I'm on Long Island and will make the Drive ... Please call Rob or Sharon @ 631 664-8496
Chipper - 2012-06-27
I found an african tortise (from what I can identify) in my yard (WPB,Fl) yesterday. It's a little bigger than a softball. So far, it seems to be eating. I am assuming it was a pet and somehow got loose. Is it ok to keep it outside? There's plenty of sunlight during the day but what about at night?

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-06-27
    Depending on temps yes.  If it as a place to go like a insulated dog hpuse.
Amy - 2010-01-19
I just bought a baby sulcata about 2 weeks ago and he recently passed this morning. The vet said it was a natural selection issue, he was born with liver problems. I noticed the pet store didnt know too much about him as well. Are there any good local breeders of sulcatas on oahu? I would like to get another maybe a bit older, and the pet stores only sell hatchlings.

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  • Will - 2010-07-04
    Hi Amy I know your post was back in Jan. But I recently came across it depending on your area they have reptile shows and honestly that is the only way I get my reptiles because they know the reptiles history, I also work at one in whiteplains NY I have made many mistakes buying reptiles at pet stores, which I will never do again one because they are over priced and two they don't know anything about them. Here's my email address any questions feel free to contact me. Will
  • Bernie Richardson - 2010-07-13
    I know this post is old. But, I am selling 2 of my 1 1/2 yr. old male sulcatas here on Oahu. If you still interested.
  • Rick - 2010-11-21
    So sorry for your loss. I have two baby sulcatas. Lilly and shell(i), and since I received them as new hatchlings on 9/1/2010 I guess their age would be about 3-4 months. So far I have been doing lots of research and trying to separate good from bad information. I also found out the local pet store staff, were semi clueless.
  • karen - 2012-06-13
    I have on ealso same thing sometimes normal and hard poops and other is a white runny poops but he is healty had him for 5 years so no worry
Barbara Holmes - 2011-11-13
My husbsand bought a Sulcata this past summer. We live in bakersfield california and the climate is usually good. Our Sulcata has developed a running nose this week. Is this normal? We have grown to love him and really enjoy watchiing him. He comes running whenever my husband goes out back. We keep him in a large shed with a heating lamp and he will only peak out to see how warm it is. We have two pot belly pigs that he loves to crawl over.

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  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2011-11-14
    Usually a runny nose is an early sign of a respiratory problem. Has it been cold/damp in his normal environment at all? They definitely do not do well in cold wet environments. That is good that you have a heating lamp, but I would also make sure that where he sleeps is not damp at all and that the temperature does not get too cold. Just keep an eye on him and see if the runny nose seems to get worse.
Sue Hawkinson - 2010-04-08
I have a problem. I ran into someone that has a African Spurred Tortoise that had been given to them 2 years ago. We are right near Tampa Florida and this winter has been a very cold one. I have had tortoises of all kinds and breed snakes and have over 250 snakes and Iguana's that have been trained and never lived in a cage. Can walk and drive and listen like a dog. Back to the Tortoise they call T T. It's large I'm saying without measuring about an easy 24" from front to back of shell I will get measurements tomorrow from front to back and side to side. Anyway it was VERY cold for Florida. It lives outside and has it's own burrow but, I brought a print out of what the tortoise needs and that is shouldn't be outside if under 60 deg at night and what it needs to eat. We have had frost and you never see your breath and for months you have been able to. I seen her when I first came to my daughters house and noticed it and went to talk to the people and they said I could come at any time and visit it and come into the yard. I've seen it twice and the first time the day I brought the paper there it came out of the burrow and I could hear it the sound it was making when breathing. I told the son of the owner and he said "no they hiss some times" this was no hiss. I bought a hing back with an upper respiratory infection and it came with medication and a needle to give it shots but after a couple of years of being him back and forth to the vet he died. Then I seen a thing on animal channel that explained the systems of a tortoise and how slow they are and how it takes months to get rid of it. That is if it isn't gone in pneumonia. Kicked myself. I also noticed on this African Spurred Tortoise that the bottom of it's mouth is over grown and couldn't even get to the pieces that I brought it of Melon and strawberries and grapes and turnip greens collard mustard and romaine. I've never seen a tortoise devour anything so fast. I kept telling her slow down chew.. It was killing me. The father came out I was leaving to go get a couple of more whole leaves for her to rip and he said "it doesn't need that, it needs to get use to what is in they yard". Now with the winter they way it was has killed all kinds of stuff. If they had bushes that I have for my Iguana's and all to eat and grasses and all they I'd think cool. How much weight would a healthy African Spurred Tortoise gain per year with eating right? And another thing. I offered to have a mobile vet come to check her out, because she cannot eat right with the bottom of her mouth beak or whatever it's called it over grown but on one side so she can't bite right. He also said." I had him at a vet and they said it's ok". I know it isn't and tomorrow I will have pictures. Please I need to know how much weight it should be gaining. They say it weighs 70 lbs. But if it's a female that should be it and if it's a male from what you said he should be getting bigger. please I know what is right and if it's sick it takes a Long time for them to really show it and then die. Oh when I fed it today I did put calcium on the food knowing that it doesn't have anything to eat. Also you said it should be kept in a dry spot. Where her burrow is, if it rains and it's going to rain and rain a lot and Florida having such a high water table, Her burrow could flood. I said I'd put a lean to over it. so that when it rains it runs off and not directly into her opening to her burrow and fill it. Please........ help me here... so that I can show these people that this isn't right. I don't want their turtle. I offered to pay for the vet to come to their house like I said. I wish I had the pictures to include... I love reptiles and people don't realize how smart they are. Even snakes that have no ears. my rattlesnakes don't bite me and if I handle a rat to much they will nip it but it doesn't die until it see me walk away... She thinks it's me or my hand. She'll just lung at the rat but no bite until I'm gone. So I no longer handle it before feeding them to her.

Thank you and please help me... or give me something to show him. Yeah if the grass is there and good and the weeds, but they should at least help it along with food. They don't have money I know that. But not right to let the African Spurred Tortoise die.

Thank you Sue Hawkinson......

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  • Jami - 2010-06-20
    Have you contacted your local animal control or pet rescue organization? I wouldn't want anyone to lose a pet, but maybe they can make these people understand that it is their responsibility to give this tortoise the proper care, housing and nutrition. If they can't, maybe they will relocate it with someone that will.