Close this search box.

African Spur Thighed Tortoise Care: How to Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy

Are you wondering to know about African Spur Thighed Tortoise Care? You have come to the right place.

Understanding the African Spur Thighed Tortoise

Before we dive into the specifics of caring for your African spur-thighed tortoise, it’s important to understand a bit about these creatures. Also known as the sulcata tortoise, the African spur-thighed tortoise is a large, herbivorous reptile that is native to the Sahara Desert in Africa. They can grow to be quite large, with males reaching lengths of up to 30 inches and weights of up to 200 pounds.

African Spur Thighed Tortoise Care

African Spur Thighed Tortoises, also known as Sulcata Tortoises, are popular pets known for their docile nature and unique appearance. These tortoises can grow up to 30 inches in length and can live for up to 70 years if cared for properly. Here are some tips on how to provide the best care for your African Spur Thighed Tortoise:

  1. Housing: African Spur Thighed Tortoises require a lot of space, so it’s important to provide a large enclosure. A minimum of 8×8 feet of outdoor space is recommended for adult tortoises. If you live in a colder climate, you may need to provide a heated indoor enclosure as well.
  2. Temperature: These tortoises are native to Africa, so they require warm temperatures. The basking area in the enclosure should be kept at 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit, while the rest of the enclosure should be kept between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. At night, the temperature should not drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Lighting: Adequate lighting is important for the health of your tortoise. A UVB bulb should be provided to allow your tortoise to synthesize vitamin D3, which is important for calcium absorption and overall health. The bulb should be replaced every 6-12 months.
  4. Diet: African Spur Thighed Tortoises are herbivores and require a diet high in fiber and calcium. Offer a variety of dark leafy greens, grasses, and hay. You can also provide occasional treats such as fruit, but be careful not to overdo it as too much fruit can cause diarrhea.
  5. Water: Provide fresh, clean water for your tortoise at all times. You can also provide a shallow water dish for your tortoise to soak in, which can help with hydration and shell health.
  6. Health: Regular check-ups with a reptile veterinarian are important to ensure your tortoise is healthy. Look out for signs of illness such as lack of appetite, lethargy, and respiratory issues.

By following these tips, you can provide a happy and healthy life for your African Spur Thighed Tortoise.

Diet and Nutrition

Proper nutrition is key to keeping your African spur-thighed tortoise healthy. These creatures are strictly herbivores and require a diet that is high in fiber and low in protein. Their diet should consist of a variety of leafy greens, including collard greens, dandelion greens, and turnip greens. They can also be fed small amounts of fruits and vegetables, such as apples, strawberries, and carrots.

It’s important to avoid feeding your tortoise foods that are high in protein, as this can lead to kidney damage and other health problems. This includes foods like dog food, cat food, and meat-based baby food.

Housing and Environment

African spur-thighed tortoises require a large, spacious enclosure to live in. A tortoise that is kept in a small enclosure is more likely to suffer from health problems and can become stressed and unhappy.

Your tortoise’s enclosure should be at least 8 feet by 8 feet, with walls that are at least 18 inches high. The enclosure should be lined with a substrate that is safe for tortoises, such as coconut coir, cypress mulch, or a mixture of topsoil and play sand. It’s also important to provide your tortoise with a basking spot, which can be achieved using a heat lamp or ceramic heater.

Health Concerns

African spur-thighed tortoises are generally healthy animals, but they can suffer from a number of health problems if they are not properly cared for. Some of the most common health concerns for these tortoises include:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Shell rot
  • Parasites
  • Eye problems
  • Overgrown beaks and nails

To keep your tortoise healthy, it’s important to provide them with a clean environment and a balanced diet. Regular veterinary checkups can also help catch any health problems early on.


Caring for an African spur-thighed tortoise can be a rewarding experience, but it requires a lot of time, effort, and knowledge. By understanding your tortoise’s diet, housing needs, and health concerns, you can provide them with a safe and happy home. With proper care, your tortoise can live a long and healthy life.


  1. Can African spur-thighed tortoises be kept with other pets? It’s generally not recommended to keep African spur-thighed tortoises with other pets, as they can become stressed and territorial. It’s best to keep them in a separate enclosure.
  2. How often should I feed my tortoise? African spur-thighed tortoises should be fed a small amount of food every day. They should have access to fresh water at all times.