Sulcata tortoises can be difficult to keep as captives. They require large outdoor spaces to roam free in and are known for being adept escape artists who can push through or dig under fencing to escape captivity.
Wild sulcata tortoises move slowly in order to conserve water and feed on desert plants, however for optimal care you should provide antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables as treats.
They have a natural diet
Sulcata tortoises live primarily in their natural environments, eating various plants such as vegetables, fruit and leaves. For optimal health they require a high-fiber diet. When fed the wrong foods they may develop bumpy shells or develop health conditions that shorten their lives.
Sulcatas are animals native to Africa’s semi-arid sahel region, where they flourish in warm temperatures and dry conditions. Preferring shaded sheds or mud wallows during midday sun, they retreat for shelter from direct sunlight when possible. Sulcatas are experts at digging, often subverting foundations of houses or fences as they dig their way underground.
To recreate their natural habitat, provide your pet’s enclosure with a wide range of food plants. Start with dark leafy greens such as red-leaf and romaine lettuce (avoid iceberg), mustard, collard greens, carrot tops and collard leaves (excluding any spines from prickly pear cacti pads). Tortoises may occasionally nibble at fruits and flowers but this should represent only a minor percentage of their total diet.
They have a natural habitat
Sulcatas have evolved to thrive in the harsh conditions of their Sahel region home in Africa. Their skin is highly permeable to water, which allows them to make efficient use of it during hotter parts of the day. When temperatures peak they retreat into burrows or pallets for shelter. When temperatures get even hotter they wallow in muddy areas for hours at a time before flipping it on themselves to stay cool. When housed properly they may even live for decades in captivity!
Captive Sulcata tortoises should be given plenty of space. Adults typically need at least 100 square feet. To reduce conflict among male and female tortoises, pairs or breeding trios may be preferred so as to ensure mutual support between females and males.
Substrates suitable for sulcata tortoises should include a combination of sand and soil. A hygrometer should be used to monitor humidity levels, which should remain between 40-55% for optimal conditions – anything higher could lead to fungal infections and shell rot.
They are a good choice for beginners
Sulcata tortoises are one of the largest breeds of shelled reptiles that can be kept as pets, growing to over 75 pounds and living up to 100 years. If well cared for, they may live longer. Since these tortoises require ample outdoor space and enjoy digging holes to hide in, it is crucial that there are hiding places available such as roof tiles, plastic reptile hides, plant pots or boxes; additionally pallets and mud wallows offer perfect spots for relaxing naps!
Tortoises utilize sight, taste and smell as primary senses to locate food sources, observe sexual partners, detect threats and detect danger. Their beaks are covered with hard horny layers to protect them if not fed sufficient amounts.
Outdoor-living Sulcata tortoises can tolerate wide temperature swings, but should receive heated bedding in winter and shade during long rain or windstorms. A shallow water bowl with low sides should also be provided so they can easily access it.
They are a good choice for experienced tortoise owners
Sulcata tortoises make great pets for experienced tortoise owners; however, beginners may want to reconsider this choice as these large creatures require ample housing and space to roam; warmer hides should also be provided during colder temperatures while cooler shaded areas should provide relief during hotter periods. Sulcatas also eat frequently – feeding at least every three days should suffice!
Sulcata tortoises should have access to food free from pesticides and herbicides such as grass and hay for their diet, along with grass cuttings, clover, grass cuttings, grass cuttings cuttings, grass cuttings cuttings or edible flowers such as nasturtium hibiscus rose petals for optimal health. Avoid feeding them too much alfalfa hay as this contains high concentrations of oxalates which may lead to kidney failure, bladder stones or reduce longevity.
A natural diet for sulcata tortoises should consist of fruits such as bananas and vegetables such as carrot tops. Both contain antioxidants to improve health and slow ageing; however, mushrooms should only be fed occasionally since they may hinder calcium absorption.