Common Name: African Spurred Tortoise
Scientific Name: Centrochelys sulcata
At the zoo: Boris (male, 19y) and Optimus (male, 18y)
African spurred tortoises inhabit hot arid environments like desert fringes and dry savannahs in the sub-Saharan deserts of Africa.
Grasses, shrubs, and desert plants
Median Life Expectancy:
50 - 150 years
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Living in the sub-Saharan deserts of Africa, African spurred tortoises are the third largest tortoise next to the Galapagos and Aldabra tortoise species. They have a broad, oval, brown carapace with thick brownish-yellow skin. They can be aggressive, especially during breeding season. The female will dig a nest and lay 15-30 eggs which she then covers. The eggs will incubate for 8 months before hatching.
They face habitat loss due to urbanization and agriculture in their region, as well as capture of young juveniles for the pet trade.
Some African cultures regard these tortoises as mediators between men and gods!