Sulcata Tortoise

Centrochelys sulcata

Class: Reptilia Order: Testudines Family:Testudinidae


Size (Males): 120 – 200 lbs
Size (Females): 65 – 75 lbs


50 years


grasses. fruit, and flowers

Habitat & Range

Desert and grasslands of Northern Africa

Interesting Facts

  • Sulcata Tortoises are the third largest species of tortoise, behind the Galapagos tortoise and the Aldabra tortoise.
  • Sulcatas are popular in the pet trade, however most people are not prepared to properly care for them. They grow quickly, require large enclosures, can be destructive, and they have very long lifespans.
  • Males and females look very similar, but there are some physical differences. The females tend be smaller in size. The underside of the male’s shell (plastron) is also more concave and their tails are longer.
  • Sulcata tortoises burrow, particularly when the weather is very hot or cold. Their burrows are usually about 30 inches deep, but they may reach depths of 10 feet.
  • Many of the sulcata tortoises at Southwick’s Zoo were personal pets at one point, and were donated when they got to be too large. Many rescue facilities are overrun with abandoned tortoises.

Conservation Status



Sulcata tortoises are threatened by habitat loss and collection for the illegal pet trade.