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Spur Thigh Tortoise

Scientific Name:Geochelone sulcatta
Lifespan: Over 50 years
Size: Approximately 3’
in shell length
Handling Ease:Excellent


  • A spur thigh tortoise’s diet should consist of:
    • 50% fresh veggies (refer to 700-40), fed daily
    • 40% dried grasses (timothy hay, alfalfa hay, etc.), fed daily
    • 10% fresh fruit (refer to 700-40), fed daily
    • All food should be dusted with calcium powder/vitamin powder (alternating days)

Caging & Environment

  • A minimum of a 20" long tank with screen cover.
  • Reptile Bark substrate (alfalfa pellets are the recommended substrate for babies)
  • 100w Basking Light with fixture (or a light that will provide a basking temperature of 110°-120°)
  • 10.0 Compact Fluorescent UVB light with fixture
  • Shallow Water Bowl
  • Food Bowl
  • Hide Cave
  • Calcium & Vitamin Powders (used alternately)


  • The African Spur Thigh or Sulcatta tortoise is the third largest tortoise in the world (Galapagos & Aldabras are larger).
  • These strictly vegetarian tortoises grow very slowly and can live over 75 years!
  • The most important health concerns are dehydration and calcium deficiency. Using a calcium powder and alternating with a vitamin powder as well as a UVB light will protect against calcium deficiency.
  • As babies, gender cannot be determined – sexual maturity in captivity occurs around 5-8 years old.
  • Eventually, this pet tortoise can be a great outdoor pet, but babies should be housed indoors to protect against predators.