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Reptiles

AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE

Conservation status

Vulnerable

Life span

80 – 100 years

Height

Can vary from a few centimeters to two meters

Length

30 inches (76 centimetres)

Weight

200 pounds (90 kilograms)

Native habitat

Desert, Savannah in North Africa

Diet

Herbivores

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Testudinidae

INTERESTING FACTS

Their name comes from the two or three large spurs on the thighs of their back legs. The African spurred tortoise is the largest African mainland tortoise, surpassed only by its relative the Aldabra tortoise found on nearby islands. They like to burrow and are well adapted to doing it. When temperatures reach more than 40 C, they salivate and smear the saliva on their forearms to help with cooling and are most active during the rainy season when the plants flourish. Their diet consists of vegetation such as grasses, shrubs, and cacti. They can go weeks without food or water. As they eat a variety of succulent plants, they do not need to drink much water. When it finds a water source it can drink up to 15 percent of its body weight. The female will dig four or five nests before she decides which one will best suit her.

CONSERVATION MESSAGE

The IUCN is classed African spurred tortoise as vulnerable. They are threatened by habitat loss caused by urbanization and overgrazing by livestock. Pet trade and the use of body parts to make longevity potions have a negative effect on the number of populations. Simple actions can conserve these ancients reptiles. Environmentally friendly practices such as saving water, not littering, follow reduce, reuse, and recycle in day-to-day activities, support conservation efforts, do not release pets into the wild as their survival can be in danger and it affects the health and well-being of existing native wildlife and learn and share the knowledge to motivate others as awareness can make a huge difference. These simple actions could be the most powerful efforts that can be done for the sake of conservation of threatened species to prevent them from becoming endangered.

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