Sulcata Tortoise

Sulcata Tortoise
Sulcata Tortoise

Sulcata Tortoise Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Sulcata Tortoise is Geochelone sulcata

General Information about Sulcata Tortoise

  • Also known as African Spurred Tortoise or Grooved Tortoise.
  • African Spurred Tortoise or Grooved Tortoise is one of the most famous and popular pet tortoises in the world.
  • It is active, easy-going, hardy and easy to be kept healthily if enough space if provided.
  • This tortoise is the world’s 3rd largest tortoise.
  • CITES listing: Class II (01/07/1975).

The Tortoise Distribution

  • The tortoises are found in Central Africa, from Southern Sahara, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Chad to Ethiopia, Egypt.

Sulcata Tortoise Breeding

  • Mating age is from 12 – 15 years.

Sulcata Tortoise Size

  • Grow up to 36 inches (90cm) in length.
  • Weighs up to 150 lbs (68kgs).
  • Largest in record is 42 inches (1.05meters) and 232 lbs (105kgs), in Giza Zoological Gardens, Eygpt, 1925.

Sulcata Tortoise Life Span

  • Their lifespan is about 30 – 50 years.
  • Oldest in record is 54 years (in Giza Zoological Gardens, Egypt, 1986).

Sulcata Tortoise Food and Feeding

  • They are herbivorous. They eat grass, leafy greens such as mustards, collards, dandelions, turnips, hibiscus, sprouts, kales.
  • They occasionally Pears, Carrots, Apples (with skin), Peaches, Beans (with skin), Peas (with skin), Almonds etc.
  • Never feed on very Juicy Fruits like tomato, Bananas, Cabbages, Cucumbers, Bok Choy, Broccoli, etc.

Sulcata Tortoise Habitat and Housing

  • Terrestrial; Arid grasslands.
  • Sulcata tortoise terrarium or tank ambient temperature should be at 72°F -85°F.
  • Basking area at 85°F -89°F.
  • UVA and UVB lighting is essential for shell development.

Spider Tortoise

Spider Tortoise
Spider Tortoise

Russian Tortoise Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Spider Tortoise is Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides

General Information about Russian Tortoise

  • Pattern of shell looks like spider web.
  • These tortoises are most active in the morning, feeding in the morning is good.
  • In the late afternoon and evening, they seems not to be so active and trying to seek for shaded place to hide and rest.
  • Provide a place for them to hide, they need certain level of security.
  • Naturally, they will dig for a place to hide and shade.
  • They do not need large space.
  • The tortoise needs constant access to water, regular soaking is required.
  • In captivity, they are quite sensitive, try to take extra care for these tortoises.
  • Keeping this species as pet is only recommended for experienced tortoises keeper.

Russian Tortoise Distribution

  • Naturally found in Madagascar.

Russian Tortoise Breeding and Nesting

  • Normally single egg from a clutch.

Russian Tortoise Size

  • Adult size from 6 inches to 8 inches.

Russian Tortoise Life Span

  • 30 to 50 years.

Russian Tortoise Food and Feeding

  • They are herbivorous. This tortoise only takes vegetables and fruits.
  • You may feed them with any fruits and vegetables.
  • Vegetables such as cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots or mushrooms will be good for them.
  • If you prefer to feed them with fruits. Green or yellow squash, apple, pear, or melons are recommended.
  • Flower and leaves are their favorite as well.
  • Mixture of the above is recommended to provide more balanced nutritious food.
  • They are quite picky about the food, try several mixture to get their favourite.

Russian Tortoise Habitat and Housing

  • Dessert-like habitat – dry woodlands, sand dunes, or brush lands.
  • The natural habitat temperature for this tortoise is ranging from 4°C to 42°C.
  • Thus try to keep them within 14°C to 33°C.
  • The most optimum temperature is around 28°C.
  • In term of humidity, they enjoy 75% to 78%.

Russian Tortoise

Russian Tortoise
Russian Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Russian Tortoise is Agrionemys horsfieldii.
  • It was formerly known as Testudo horsfieldii.

Description

  • It also has the generic name of Russian Tortoise, Central Asian Tortoise, Four-Toed Tortoise, Afghanistan Tortoise, Horsfield’s Tortoise and Steppe Tortoise.
  • Russian Tortoise or Afghanistan Tortoise is one of the most famous and popular tortoises in the world.

Distribution

  • These tortoises are mostly found in middle east countries such as Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and some area in North Western China.
  • Naturally can be found near hillsides, rocky deserts, sandy or loamy steppes.

Breeding

  • Mating is actively done during the summer season (mid of March to mid of June, naturally).

Nesting

  • They lay 2 to 6 eggs per clutch.
  • There is up to 3 clutches per season.
  • Incubation takes 80 to 110 days, at constant 30.5ºC.
  • Hatchling happen in August or September in the natural habitat.
  • Russian babies are measured at around 32mm to 34mm in length.

Size

  • Russian tortoises can grow up to 6 – 8 inches in size.

Life Span

  • Around 50 years old.

Diet

  • High fiber, low protein and calcium rich food is necessary.
  • Russian Tortoise loves leaves, grasses, weeds, vegetables and flowers.
  • Since the tortoise hibernate during winter, and tends to eat a lots during summer.
  • You’ll find out that if you keep them indoor, it’ll eat lots all year long.
  • This will create improper growth for the tortoise.
  • The recommendation is to feed them 30 minutes a day as how much they can eat, and stop feeding them.
  • Please be reminded that the food much be variety, do not feed them the same food everyday.
  • Mix up hoya plants and green plants (Endive, Romaine lettuce, etc).
  • Different mixing preferably everyday.
  • Try not to feed them with fruits, grains or animal protein food.
  • Mixing the food with vitamin D3 power or calcium supplement is highly recommended.
  • A dish of water should be provided all time.

Habitat

  • This kind of tortoise prefers open dry landscaping.
  • The tortoise is an expert burrow digger.
  • Naturally Russian Tortoise hibernate during winter or cold weather.
  • The tortoises are very active from mid of March to mid of June (summer season).
  • Estivation or aestivation do happen during the summer.
  • In summer, they forage.
  • At temperature of 21ºC to 31ºC, the tortoise is found most active.
  • Hibernation is from October to March in Uzbekistan.
  • Dry and sparse bushes or grasses.

Common Disease

  • Improper growth if diet is not controlled well.

Vivarium and Housing

  • Prevent damp if you keep them outdoor.
  • Indoor housing must be large enough for their movement, at least 3 feet by 4 feet enclosure.
  • Temperature should be controlled with basking spot at around 31ºC and a cooler spot with a hide box.

Greek Tortoise

Greek Tortoise
Greek Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Greek Tortoise is Testudo graeca

Description

  • It is also known as Spur Thigh.
  • Wide range of sub species.
  • The coloration of the Greek tortoise is highly variable and can range from olive with dark spots in the middle of each scute on the carapace to a “golden” form which is almost entirely yellow in appearance.

Distribution

  • They are found in Southern Spain, Northern Africa, and Eastern Europe and Middle East.

Breeding and Nesting

  • The tortoise breed during rainy season.

Size

  • Adult carapace size is 6 – 7 inches.
  • Hatchlings average 1½ – 2 inches

Life Span

  • Estimated to be over 50 years with proper care.

Diet

  • The Greek tortoise is strictly herbivorous.
  • They require a high fiber, low protein and calcium rich diet.
  • They eat dark leafy greens such as kale, dandelion, mustard, collard and turnip greens should be fed regularly. Natural grasses and hays can also be provided.
  • High protein foods such as commercially prepared dog and cat food and beans should be avoided at all costs since this will eventually cause renal failure due to the excessive protein.
  • Fruits can be given sparingly since too many fruits will result in diarrheas and other health issues.
  • If calcium supplementation is required try to use pure calcium carbonate. The bone of the cuttle fish can also be used and is commonly found in pet shops for calcium supplementation for birds.
  • Fresh water should be offered at all times in a shallow dish. Your tortoise will also appreciate a 10-minute soak in a shallow bath water to ensure proper hydration.

Habitat and Vivarium Housing

  • Greek tortoise need a vivarium with a temperature setting of 75°F – 85°F.
  • UVA and UVB lighting should be also provided to enhance the shell development.
  • The vivarium should be cleaned daily using the reptile-safe cleaner. It’s healthier for your tortoise.

Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise
Pancake Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Pancake Tortoise is Malacochersus tornieri. 

Description

  • The tortoise makes hardy captives.
  • This kind of tortoise is one of the oddest of all tortoises
  • It has a flat and rather soft shell, soft plastron, and has the habit of fleeing rather than withdrawing into its shell when it is disturbed.
  • The tortoise is an excellent climber and make its home under rocks.

Description

  • These tortoises are found in Kenya, Tanzania and South Eastern Africa.

Breeding

  • Incubation 99 – 237 days.
  • Incubated at around 30 C

Nesting

  • Normally 1 egg is latched, rarely 2 eggs are latched.
  • The pancake tortoise’s egg is large.
  • Prior to nesting, the female tortoise is very active.
  • One of the behaviour is digging trial nests in the substrate.

Size

  • Adult size is about 6 inches (15cm) in length, 1-1.5 lbs (0.5-0.7kg).
  • Mature males have much longer and thicker tails than females.
  • Additionally, males tend to be smaller than the females, and the rayed pattern on their scutes less distinct.

Life Span

  • Captive tortoise can live 25 years or more.

Diet

  • Herbivorous (plant-eating);
  • They eat dry and Fresh Grass, Dark Leafy Greens (e.g. Mustards, Collards, Turnips, Kales).
  • Sometimes feeding them with Pears, Apples (with skin), Beans (with skin), Peas (with skin) and Carrots is ok.
  • But never feed them with Very Juicy Fruits, like tomato, bananas, cabbages, cucumbers, Bok Choy, lettuces, broccoli, etc

Tortoise Habitat

  • Terrestrial, since they are sociable.
  • Rocky hillsides is their natural habitat.

Pancake Tortoise Common Disease

  • These tortoises might suffer repeated flagelatte and gut problems such as colic results from excessive of soft fruits feeding. Over juicy food or fruits are not suitable such as tomato or lettuce.
  • Meat should not be given to Pancake Tortoise. It would cause poor bone formation, liver problems, excessive growth, etc.

More About Pancake Tortoise

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Aldabra Giant Tortoise is Geochelone gigantea.
  • It is also known as Aldabrachelys elephantina or Dipsochelys elephantina.

Description

  • Aldabra or Galapagos Tortoise are the 2 largest tortoises in the entire world.
  • They are dark grey to black in colour with a highly domed thick carapace.
  • Aldabra tortoises also have a very long neck to aid in food gathering.
  • CITES listing: Class II (01/07/1975).

Distribution

  • Aldabra Giant Tortoises are found mostly in aldabra atoll (a small group of coral islands in the Indian Ocean).
  • Also, in Seychelles Islandsome in Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion & Tanzania.
  • Galapagos Tortoises are found in Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. 

Breeding

  • Breeding season occurs from January to April.
  • In courting, the male batters his shell against a female a dozen or more times and he makes a deep, trumpeting call when mating.
  • After carrying the fertilised ova for about ten weeks, the female digs a hole in the ground and lay eggs.

Nesting

  • Every time, they female lays between 9-25 eggs of which less than half are fertile.
  • The Aldabra Tortoise eggs incubation period ranges from 73 to 160 days with the young emerging during an eight-week period coinciding with the beginning of the wet season.

Size

  • Aldabra adult can grow up to approximately 48 inches (1.2 meters) in length, 550 lbs (250 kgs) for males.
  • Female tortoises are approx. 36 inches (0.9 meter) in length, 350 lbs (160 kgs).

Life Span

  • They can live more than 80 years.
  • Oldest recorded age is 255 years old tortoise.

Diet

  • Herbivorous (plant-eating); Vegetables.
  • Occasionally small invertebrates and carrion.
  • Their main foods to be Grasses, Dark Leafy Greens (e.g. dandelions, mustards, collards, turnips, kales).
  • Occasionally foods to be Pears, Carrots, Peaches, Apples (with skin), Beans (with skin), Peas (with skin), Almonds, tomato,
  • In captivity, sometimes they are fed with high quality canned reptile, dog or cat food, etc.

Habitat

  • Terrestrial; the semi-arid islands have coral limestone beaches and mangroves along their borders.

Tortoise Cage and Housing

  • Cage should be large enough.
  • Adults Aldabra are recommended to be housed outdoors in most time of the year.
  • With Soil, fine sand or compressed paper granules as substrate, 12 – 14 hours each day with direct natural sunlight or UV lamp, low to mid humidity.
  • Best temperature range for them is 25 – 35°C.
  • A big water dish to be left in the cage sometimes but not all the time.
  • If possibilities include caves as hiding place.

Aldabra Giant Tortoise in the Zoo

Elongated Tortoise

Elongated Tortoise
Elongated Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Elongated Tortoise is Indotestudo elongata

Description

  • It is also known as Yellow Head Tortoise, Yellow Tortoise, Red-Nosed Tortoise.
  • This species is an unusually tamed and beautiful tropical tortoise, readily available and fairly hardy that makes a wonderful pet.

Distribution

  • These tortoises are found in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, People’s Republic of China, Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Commonly seen in Southeast Asia. 

Size

  • Male: Above 12 inches (30cm).
  • Female: Above 15 inches (38cm).

Life Span

  • 20-50 years.

Diet

  • They are herbivorous, which means they are plant-eating animals.
  • These tortoises hunt for fallen Fruits, Grasses, Greens & Flowers.
  • The primary foods for elongated tortoises are various fruits (e.g. Peaches, Apples with skin, starfruits, Papayas, Mangos, Tomatoes, etc), Carrots, Mushrooms, Beans, Peas, Grass, Veggies, Flowers & Dark Leafy Greens (e.g. dandelions, mustards, collards, turnips, kales).
  • However, these tortoises in captivity occasionally take high quality canned reptile, dog or cat food, Cooked Eggs, White Cheese, Low-Fat Meat.

Habitat and Housing

  • Terrestrial; humid upland forest areas.
  • In captivity, a large shallow water bowl should be provided for soaking and drinking all the time, also include caves for hiding etc.

Tortoise Common Disease

  • Very hardy but will experience respiratory problems after a prolonged exposure to cool environment.
  • Early symptoms are puffy eyes and running nose.

Leopard Tortoise

Leopard Tortoise
Leopard Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Leopard Tortoise is Geochelone pardalis

Description

  • The Leopard tortoises have beautiful contrasting and spotted yellow and black dorsal plates on their carapaces.
  • Second largest tortoise native to Africa. 
  • In nature, these tortoises do not hibernate.
  • They should be placed indoor with suitable (warm) environment during low temperature season such as winter.
  • CITES listing: Class II (01/07/1975).

Distribution

  • The Leopard tortoises are found in Southern, SouthWestern and Eastern Africa, countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, Namibia, Angola, etc.Found in savanna and woodlands.

Breeding

  • During September and October in AfricaNormally all year long.

Nesting

  • From 5 to 30 eggs per clutch.

Size

  • The tortoise can grow up to 24 inches (60cm) long.
  • Weight up to more than 80 lbs (35kgs).

Life Span

  • Up to 50 years.

Diet

  • Leopard tortoises are herbivorous.
  • They prefer a course and high fibre diet such as Opuntia (prickly pear).
  • Their natural food are grasses, weeds, and cactus.
  • Dislike juicy food or fruits are not suitable such as tomato, lettuce.
  • High protein food is not suitable.
  • Commercial tortoise food, with high calcium D3 should be provided daily.

Natural Habitat

  • Their natural habitat is semi-arid, thomy and grassland.
  • Require large space to move around.
  • Dry environment is needed for the tortoises.
  • 28°C to 32°C during daytime, 20°C to 24°C is the most adequate temperature for the tortoise.

Rules about Leopard Tortoise Enclosure

Common Disease

  • These tortoises might suffer repeated flagalatte and gut problems such as colic results from excessive of soft fruits feeding.
  • Meat should not be given to Leopard Tortoise. It would cause poor bone formation, liver problems, excessive growth, etc.

Yellow Foot Tortoise

Yellow Foot Tortoise
Yellow Foot Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Yellow Foot Tortoise is Geochelone denticulata

Description

  • Also known as Yellow-footed tortoise.
  • Look quite similar to Red-footed Tortoise. The difference is just the colour of the scale on the forelegs and their heads of the tortoises.
  • Readily available and fairly hardy that makes a wonderful pet tortoise.
  • Their shell is wide and flat with light golden brown.
  • These tortoises are shy, yet active and personable.

Distribution

  • They are found in South America countries, covered from Brazil to Bolivia and some Caribbean Islands.
  • They also live in Northern South America, east of the Andes to southern Brazil; Trinidad, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, etc.

Breeding

  • With light winter cooling, followed by warm and rainy days is helpful for Yellow Footed Tortoises breeding.

Nesting

  • They lay 6 to 12 eggs per clutch.
  • Each clutches are laid 4 to 6 weeks apart.
  • The little babies take approximately 3 to 4 months at 84°F to hatch.

Size

  • Male up to 24 inches (60cm).
  • Female up to 30 inches (75cm).
  • Weight up to 40lbs (20kgs).

Life Span

  • Yellow Footed Tortoise may live up to 50 year-old.

Diet

  • These are tortoises are omnivores.
  • Eat leafy greens such as: clover, endive, dandelions, etc.
  • Fallen fruits.
  • Small amount of meat, such as earthworms and low protein food.
  • Commercial tortoise food (high calcium and vitamins).
  • Powdered calcium and high protein food should be mixed with the meal once a week to help them grow better.

Habitat

  • Their natural habitat is in the dense rainforest and tropical lowlands of South America.

Common Disease

  • These tortoises will experience respiratory problems after a prolonged exposure to cool environment.
  • Early symptoms are puffy eyes and running nose.

Red Foot Tortoise

Red Foot Tortoise
Red Foot Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Red Foot Tortoise is Geochelone carbonaria

Description

  • A very colorful tropical tortoise, easily available, very hardy that makes a wonderful pet.
  • It is also known as Savanna Tortoise, Red-Legged or Red Footed.

Distribution

  • It’s found in Central and South American.

Breeding

  • Breed after 4 – 5 Years Old.
  • 1 to 8 eggs per clutch.
  • 4 months incubation.

Nesting

  • During rainy season.

Size

  • Up to 14 inches length for male.
  • 12 inches length for female.
  • Both male and female will reach this size in 15 years.

Life Span

  • Live up to 50 years or more.

Diet

  • Omnivores.
  • Grasses, flowers Various fruits (e.g. Plums, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples with skin, Starfruits, Papayas, Mangos, Tomatoes, etc), Carrots, Mushrooms, Beans, Peas, Veggies, & Dark Leafy Greens.
  • Meat also can be fed, like high quality canned reptile, dog or cat food, Cooked Eggs, White Cheese, Low-Fat Meat.

Habitat

  • Terrestrial; tropical forests, dry grassland.
  • Clean surrounding.

Other information

  • Some people believe tortoise bring good luck to them. As a pet owner, take good care of your tortoise!