Sulcata Tortoise Care

Sulcata tortoises grow rapidly for the first 5-10 years, and then their growth slows with age. They can live more than 70 years. At full maturity, tortoises can exceed 70, 90, even 100 lbs. The Sulcata tortoise is also known as the African spurred tortoise. It is recommended that you soak baby sulcata tortoises in shallow, warm water up to three times a week, for 10 to 15 minutes.


A simple, plastic container is suitable for raising small tortoises for the first few years of their lives. Ideally, larger, more mature tortoises should have outdoor access, at least when and where it is warm enough for this to be possible. Indoor habitats should be kept at 68-80°, with a basking area heated by an overhead light. Like most diurnal, herbivorous reptiles, they need a UVB light in their indoor enclosures to help them properly process the calcium in their diets. Keep lights on 12 to 14 hours a day, and turn off all light and heat sources at night. Cypress mulch or various hays are good options for enclosure bedding material. Also include a few large, flat rocks.


Common and recommended foods include: lawn grasses, mulberry leaves, grape leaves, hibiscus leaves and flowers. Tortoises also appreciate mixes of baby lettuces and greens, especially darker varieties of greens. Keep in mind that baby tortoises may not be able to chew sturdier or tougher leaves or grasses.