Common Name: African Spurred Tortoise
Scientific Name: Centrochelys sulcata

At the zoo: Boris (male, 18y) and Optimus (male, 17y)

Habitat:
African spurred tortoises inhabit hot arid environments like desert fringes and dry savannahs in the sub-Saharan deserts of Africa.

Diet:
Grasses, shrubs, and desert plants

Median Life Expectancy:
50 - 150 years

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Biology:
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.

Fun Fact:
Some African cultures regard these tortoises as mediators between men and gods!