The name Spurred Tortoise comes from the pointy modified scales that are on the tortoise’s legs. When the tortoise pulls its’ head and legs into its’ shell, the spikes protect the exposed parts from danger.
Spurred tortoises are vegetarians, feeding on almost any plant matter they can find in their dry environment. Because standing water can only be found seasonally, the tortoises get much of their water from the plants that they eat.
African Spurred Tortoise
The African Spurred Tortoise is the third largest tortoise species in the world. It can be found in the southern Sahara dessert and the adjoining grasslands. These tortoises can grow to almost 3 feet in length and an average adult weighs 75 - 125 lbs. They have been recorded at weights of over 200 lbs. They take their time getting this big, and can live for over 100 years.
Young Spurred Tortoises can often be found in pet shops. Unfortunately, many people who purchase these cute little tortoises don’t realize just how large they will eventually get, or how long of a commitment they are making to their new pet. These tortoises also need heated enclosures when the weather is cooler than 50˚-55˚ F.
The difference between a tortoise and a turtle is its habitat. Tortoises live mainly on the land, while turtles spend most of their time in the water.