Pet Care Guides Reptile

Sulcata Tortoise


Central Africa


Dry, arid regions

Average Size

min. 18'', 70-100 lbs.


The sulcata tortoise is not a good pet for a beginner. This tortoise will grow at least 18 inches in shell length and 70-100 pounds. The sulcata is the third largest species of tortoises in the world. They are native to central Africa and live in dry arid regions.


Sulcatas require a high fiber diet. The bulk of the diet should consist of hay and grasses such as grass hay, buffalo grass, Bermuda grass, orchard grass, Arizona fescue, creeping red fescue and more:

Edible weeds, leaves and flowers:

prickly pear cactus pads
roses (flowers only)

These dark leafy greens and fruit can be offered occasionally in small quantities:

romaine lettuce
mustard greens
collard greens
turnip greens
pumpkin (remove seeds)

A vitamin D and Calcium supplement should be used weekly and lightly dusted food. Vitamins stick well to lettuce. Do not overuse vitamins because this can be toxic to your tortoise.

Do not feed your tortoise a staple diet of fruit and vegetables it does not provide them with enough fiber and can cause diarrhea and other health problems. Fruit should be offered occasionally as a treat.

Sulcatas prefer to graze throughout the day. Clean water should always be available and the tortoises. The water pan should be large enough so that the tortoise can sit in it.


A hatchling sulcata can be housed in a 30 gallon aquarium for a short period of time before he or she outgrows this enclosure. Tortoises need plenty of space to walk and graze for exercise. As your sulcata grows an appropriate enclosure should be built. This will provide your tortoise with more room to roam and better ventilation. Eventually your sulcata tortoise will need either an extremely secure enclosure or his or her own room. Sulcata's can be housed in the summer months outside. Considerations of a full size sulcata's requirements should be considered before purchased. A sulcata can reach full size in 15 years.


A soil and cypress mulch should be used as bedding for your tortoise. Feces must be scooped out every day. Bedding should be dry. Tortoises like to burrow so there should be a few inches of bedding available. Every 4 weeks all bedding should be removed and new bedding should be used. As your tortoise grows and produces more feces you may have to clean the substrate more often, as often as twice a week.