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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Maxine lenett - 2011-10-10
I have an African spurred tortoise that is 5 to 6 yrs. Old. I live in the high desert in Calif. And it gets very cold here in fall and winter months. I don't want to keep him in an aquarium. I was told that he needs more freedom, room, and outside light. I love him so much but don't know that this year I can keep him warm and provided for like I want to. Any suggestions? Or does anyone have a better home to provide and would like to purchase him. Want ONLY
The best for him. Heartbroken. He loves his outside enclosure that works well but only for the summer months. Thank you!

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  • Diana - 2011-10-11
    I'm responding to your tortoise dilema, my name is Diana and live in Riverside CA.and I have a 5 year old female named squirt who lives freely all year in our backyard but seems lonely so if you want a good home for your tortoise we have one here let me know
  • George - 2011-10-18
    I have a 2 1/2 acres with 2 African Spurred Tortoises and would be happy to give your guy a good home. I will pay you $40. My place is in La Quinta, Ca. I love my tortoises, they are the best pets ever.
  • Yolanda - 2011-10-23
    I have 2, African tortoises and live in WA state. It gets very cold here but there are other alternatives besides giving them away. I keep my tortoises indoors and let them roam around. I have selected a room of their own and that's where they do their feedings. When the colder months come around I turn on the heater for them. They are a part of my family and treat them as such. I will say, I keep the door closed when I feed them because that's normally when it's time to use the bathroom. I then go in and clean after them and let them continue roaming around the house. There is no sunshine over here in the winter months, so the outside is out of the question. But every chance I can, I release them on my backyard so they can enjoy the little bit of sun we occasionally do have.
  • Gabriel Esparza - 2011-10-29
    I live in West Covina, Ca. Large backyard and have a 5 year old Spurred tortoise. If you are still looking for a good home. Please contact me. Gabe
  • vincent - 2011-11-10
    Maxine i would be interested please email me vincent
  • Anonymous - 2012-01-16
    I have a 75 lb male and 40 lb female and live in NY. I use depends diapers for them, and size 3 pamper diapers for my smaller ones. They all run throughout to house, as long as they have a diaper on. Believe me, it works
  • Winston Ramirez - 2012-03-08
    how much would you like for your sulcata tortoise? I have 4 hectares of grassland (fenced) btw I live in the Philippines
Patti - 2011-11-24
I purchased my sulcata from a well known pet shop but he never opens his eyes!! He walks around his home but when in a corner acts like he can't see to turn himself thus he sits in the corner till I move him. Can babies go blind and does anyone know what would cause this?? Desperate for help. thanks

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-11-24
    Anything can be born blind or just have trouble seeing. I would check his eye lids to make sure they actually can open. Sounds strange but there can be eye gunk (whatever) that for some reason has his lids closed. Just clean the eye lids with warm water and a q tip. If his eye lids are truly just together, you can ask a vet how the eye lids can be opened. Sounds strange but if he is blind and can't see, it doesn't mean that he is miserable or unhappy. Easy thing is maybe he just likes peace and quiet. If he is eating and pooping with regularity, don't worry but check the eyelids.
Diane - 2011-11-06
I live in Arizona with my so called "juvenile" sulcata. It is fall, with cooler weather now. My tort doesn't poop when coming back from the park lately, and hardly ever pees. I've heard that they can get "stones" do you tell, or how do you prevent them/get rid of them?

Paula Clark - 2011-09-10
My son found a matemata turtle today on 9-10-2011. We are going to try to raise it. We named it "SPIKE". If you have any suggestions or facts, please send us an e-mail, Thank you very much. Please write soon, need help!!!!

danielle s - 2011-06-20
s the african spurred tortoise illegal in California?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-20
    My guess would be that they are legal in California. Animal World article says they are readily avaible through breeders even though on the Cites Appendix II list. You can ask a breeder or you can call Fish and Game and ask the question just in case you need a permit.
    A reliable breeder in CA would know the answer though.
  • Spring Pace - 2011-07-25
    They are not illegal to own in California
Joel - 2010-09-08
I just bought my sulcata yesterday. He seems very happy one thing I noticed is that he scratches one of his eyes. Is this a problem?

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  • colten comer - 2010-11-18
    It could be.
    I will check with a few sources to get an answer.
  • Bubblephobia - 2011-01-07
    Yes, it means he is dehydrated. Soak him in warm water immediately making sure he can keep his head above the water. To keep my hatchling hydrated I place her in her water dish every time I pass her tank.
  • Spring Pace animal care - 2011-07-25
    Does one eye look different than the other? Dry eyes may be an indication of dehydration, soak your baby in warm water every day for about 20 min, make sure the humidity levels are high in his tort table, you can insure that by using a substrate that holds moisture like coconut coir. Congrats and please join a chat group like, you'll find great people w/ lots of practical sulcata experience. Smiles
colten comer - 2010-11-18
iI have found out that sulcatas are very smart.
If they can see you throw a vegi or fruit that they like they will eat them in the order you throw them even if they have to step over them to get to the one thrown before it.
I have had mine for seven years.
When I got mine he was $400 and fit in my palm.
He was a very expensive birthday present but my dad and I came to find that they are very cool and smart pets.
I have got MR.T that's what I named him 7 years ago to remember up to 13 tomatoes in order.
If anyone wants info or just an opinion
text or email me

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  • Tabby - 2010-11-29
    Can you give me any tips on taking care of a baby 2-3" Sulcata? I will be getting it here shortly, like days. So I would like some tips from you since you have had yours a while. I have a red foot tort right now. I have been into reps for 30 yrs but just recently into torts. My other passion is snakes and Iguanas, so I am aware of the importance of uvb/uva bulbs. I guess I just need help on feed?
  • Elizabeth - 2011-01-02
    What do you normally feed your turtle? I have been giving him only lettuce (iceberg and romaine).
  • Spring Pace animal care - 2011-07-25
    Mine does the same thing Colton, very smart animals, I use Orchard Grass and my guy focuses on the bag until the grass hits the ground or its going to diasppear before he gets his share. I don't give mine tomatoes, but in the summer he does enjoy a fat slice watermelon. He's 20 inches long and 60+ lbs
nicole - 2010-10-04
Hi I live in Southern LA, and have fell in love with a Sulcata Tortoise. I have spent a week now talking with my husband to decide if one would be a fit for us. I have always been in love with turtles and have several red ear sliders and soft shells. Last week at a local pet shop I got to pet and feed a Sulcata who was about 20 lbs. We are now considering adopting a baby.
My question is since I am thinking long terms since they can live a very long time is how will they get along with a small dog once they are big? I have a shitzu poodle and I am just curious if others have had their tortoise around other pets?
Also my 2nd question is, since vegetarian they would be likely to eat your flowers in the garden.. hmm I love gardening too.
3rd. Can anyone give me an idea of what it costs to feed them?

Thank you! Trying to make the best decision.. nicole

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  • colten comer - 2010-11-18
    I have had a sulcata for 7 years.
    When I got him he fit in my palm,
    I was 11 then.
    If you get one he will do fine around pets and really doesn't like flowers much but he will eat almost any vegi
    and not too many fruits.
    They are not cheap to feed the best thing that I have figured out is to buy pure alfalfa seed and grow it.
    You said LA?
    They cannot be in weather below 70 degrees.
    I have built a small dog house like home that has a heater but I do not keep him out in his field once the temperature reaches 60 or below.
    If you do grow alfalfa you can cut and dry it in the summer and keep it in paper bags to keep it dry.
    That is his main source of nutrients during the winter.
    They will not eat grass regularly and they sleep a lot.
    But they are very cute.
    And they get large fast.
    Youu can email or text me anytime for info
  • april - 2011-01-15
    We have our 2 carine terriers, 3 bunnies, and 2 torties all hang out it the backyard. Our dogs chase cats, birds, anything, but they've never bothered our toties. As long as you have a little dog you're in the clear. We garden a lot too but I've found that there are so many dangerous plants. Our sulcatas like nasturtium flowers and you can eat them too! We live in Orange county, so we grow all our veggies for our animals in the backyard. So it can cost like nothing to feed them but seeds and your time.

    hope that helps.

  • april - 2011-01-15
    If you're still looking for one this fish store were we bought ours still has one for 80 bucks. Only weighs 4lbs. It's called coral oasis in costa mesa.
  • Jim Misiak - 2011-05-22
    My cost is very low, nothing. Rocko is 18 years old and weights 130 lbs. He will graze all day on backyard grass. We have flowers in planters that we feed everyday to him and our other turtles. He eats leaves that fall off the tree. He loves laventera leaves. Every bush or tree I prun back goes in his yard for him to eat. He never gets store bought food!
  • JIM BRANT - 2011-06-11
    Nicole, My wife and I live in SE Louisiana and have two Sulcatas .More or less our children. They bring so much joy to my wife. But there is a problem she doesn't like eating in a eatery that serves turtle soap. No medical problems, they are very hardy . They consume only about two heads of roman lettuce per day,supplemented by a little apple and fruit. Cost is maybe $3.00 a day. We have had them 6 years, when we got them they was like a silver dollar. Now they are are like large foot tub.If we can help any kind of way please let us know.We are about to design a habitat for them. We do keep them in a green house but they have access to go in or out. Good luck Jim
Scooter - 2007-01-30
About 7 years ago, I bought a 4" Sulcata tortoise with exquisite diamond shapes on her shell in a pet shop. I asked the store attendant what he could tell me about it and was told "Oh yea man, that's a turtle." I liked the creature and bought it anyway.

The sales clerk who sold me the tortoise had no idea that a sulcata would grow so quickly to such a large size, nor was he aware of its nutritional and environmental needs.

I later learned proper sulcata care. The severe pyramiding process that I thought was so attractive but was in truth a deformity and was stopped with normal growth developing after. Finally, she has grown to the point of reaching the limits of the 55 gallon tank habitat in a Manhattan apartment.

Sulcatas should never be sold to live in an New York apartment. However they are easy and prolific breeders, and the market is flooded with cheap little cute tortoises purchased without understanding the committment a sulcata requires. No animal should ever be sold to anyone unaware that they would someday be unable to properly care for it.

they should never be bought as "cute pets" and no one without experience in keeping these huge tortoises with difficult habitat needs should take on the responsibility for keeping one.

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  • dv - 2010-10-28
    I completely Agree They are the cutest pets yet require life long commitment and proper living condtions Lots of Land, warm climate, Interaction with natural world a Must! maby not during the winter but def the summer.
steve & Kui - 2009-02-05
Aloha from Hawaii do you remember Kui the African Spurred Tortoise. Well Kui has done it again, he has gotten his picture in the Midweek in Honolulu Hawaii. See Kui snacking on his favorite red hibicus flower. The guy taking the pictures was amazed with Kui and I think Kui was a little impressed himself. You can see kui's picture in the 2-4-09 Midweek in the windward section. Aloha S D Lynch & Kui
Editor's note: Thanks for sharing the update on Kui, and amazing tortoise!

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  • jessie - 2010-09-03
    Steve, I live on oahu hawaii kai area and was wondering what u feed kui. I just got a baby sulcata and was wondering what kind of local grasses I can feed him/her. Hit me up if u can