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African Spurred Tortoise

Geochelone sulcata
After the Galapagos and Aldabra Tortoises, the African Spurred Tortoise takes the title as third largest in the world. These land giants dwell in drier regions of central and northern Africa where they subsist on a diet of fruits and vegetables. During the driest times of the year, the Tortoises build burrows and enter states similar to hibernation in order to keep from dehydration.

Breeding occurs during rainier parts of the year, and males will fight for the right to breed with females. During the copulation itself, females will be unable to move due to the weight of the male Tortoises. About two months after mating the female will dig a large nest and deposit 15-30 eggs into. They will incubate for an additional 8 months before the 2" hatchlings emerge. It will take the Tortoises fifteen years to reach sexual maturity. But, like their large Tortoise cousins, they can live over 100 years.

African Spurred Tortoises have experienced some drastic population drops. They've been losing their habitats due to urbanization and the spread of livestock, and have also been hunted for meat. African Spurred Tortoises are also collected for the pet trade when they are in their younger years. This makes re-population difficult, as they take so long to mature.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : Africa
Size : Length up to 36in (90cm), Weight up to 200lbs (91kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Sauropsida -- Order : Testudines
Family : Testudinidae -- Genus : Geochelone -- Species : G. sulcata

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