Your Guide to Caring for a Sulcata Tortoise


Owning a giant tortoise is a lifelong commitment and responsibility that requires careful consideration. Sulcata tortoises, also known as African spurred tortoises, can live anywhere from 70 to 100 years or more. To ensure their well-being, it is essential to have plenty of vegetation, such as grass, grass hays, and vegetables, and only consume fruit as a treat.

Tortoises are burrowers, which means they stay warm or cool down if they don’t have proper shelter. They are also prone to ramming people and objects, which may result in bruises and broken bones for the owner. They can bite, with the severity depending on their size. Some species can be more defensive or prone to stress than others, and males can become territorial.

When feeding a giant tortoise by hand, be careful, as most bites happen by accident. Wash your hands after handling them, as turtles and tortoises carry salmonella, so make sure to clean your hands after touching your pet or anything in their living space. Sulcata tortoises should remain out of homes of those with weakened immune systems or children under 5 years old.

Tortoises do not need to be around others of their kind to be content, but they do show affection to their chosen family. They will follow you around, let you handle them, feed from your hands, and come when you call. (However, remember to wash your hands afterward!).

Consistency in temperature is important for a tortoise, as they are cold-blooded and need water temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They require annual vet visits, where they will get a physical check-up and overall health assessment.

Location is crucial for a giant tortoise, as they can weigh well over 100 pounds and require help getting them into your car.

It is important to check with your state’s laws before owning a giant tortoise, as the types of tortoises they can own depend on the state. For example, in California, it is illegal to purchase, sell, or breed desert tortoises unless they were born before 1972 and only if you have a permit. In New York, owning native reptiles is illegal, and a permit is required for all non-native species listed as endangered or threatened.

In conclusion, caring for a giant tortoise requires a lifelong commitment and responsibility. It is essential to be aware of the specific living space requirements, the potential dangers of a tortoise, and the legal requirements in your state.

Monitor lizards are a popular choice for pet owners, as they are one of the largest lizards on the planet. They come in various sizes, with many species outweighing people and even lighter-bodied ones being several feet long. There are 80 different verified monitor lizard species in total, with the spiny-tailed monitor lizard being more manageable in captivity than some of the giant monitor species.

The Komodo dragon is the largest monitor lizard on the planet, usually weighing about 155 pounds, but the largest was over 365 pounds and measured 10.3 feet in length. They can eat virtually any kind of animal, alive or dead, and have been known to eat each other. Attacks on humans are rare.

Monitor lizards are extremely adaptable, living in various environments across three continents – Africa, Asia, and Australia. They have a sixth sense called the vomeronasal sense, which uses an organ called Jacobson’s organ to detect nearby food. Their long tongues collect scents and touch the Jacobson’s organ on the roof of their mouth, allowing them to pinpoint what animal is nearby and whether it is an acceptable dinner.

In the wild, monitor lizards are at the top of the food chain, with only humans and occasionally large wildcats being the exceptions. In Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, a Pied Kingfisher attacked a Nile monitor lizard, but the bird probably couldn’t do much about it.

Monitor lizards can climb up to 3 feet in length, making them a smart and affordable option for pet owners.


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