Out Of Africa

Our African Sulcata Tortoise was estivating last week, which is what they do in winter……but we had 3 inches of rain and the ground was already saturated, so he was underwater and seemingly oblivious to it. The easiest way to move this 80 pound  bombshell is to load him up in a wheel barrow.The last time his pasture was icy, I brought him into the house along with his igloo where he closed his eyes and covered his face with his front feet. This was great until Tom came home. I felt like I should tell him that Fast Eddie was in the house, so he didn’t trip over him during the night. He just shook his head and so Eddie was moved to the garage with a space heater and lots of fresh hay on the floor. Our tortoise adviser Bruce Deuley gave us good tips about keeping him healthy and warned us not to let him get too cold and especially not cold and wet. During the spring and summer, Eddie grazes on coastal Bermuda grass and we give him treats of bell peppers, romaine lettuce, field greens and cucumbers. The web-site Sulcata Station has great advice about caring for tortoises. Spinach impedes the absorption of calcium and can cause deformities of their shell, so this should never be fed. Iceberg lettuce holds no nutritional value and tomatoes are too acidic. Click here to read more about the care and feeding of the African Sulcata Tortoise.

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4 Comments

  1. Oh, I can so relate. My guy, who only about 30 pounds at 9 years old, is Bilbo. He wanted to tell Eddie that he’s got an igloo just like his!

  2. Considering adopting a sulcata. We’ve downsized in acreage, to only 3.75. Exactly how much land space do you devote to your 80 pounder, you obviously allow him to roam, no danger w/the horses rolling him over? Do they ignore him (we have two), also we are a bit rocky in some areas. Did you reinforce the fence “under” ground to keep him from getting out or does he just stick around? Does he burrow or prefer his igloo, etc. etc. thanks

    • We had to bury the field wire in his 1000 square foot pen. We check it periodically for weak spots. He got out once and was missing for four days! He sleeps in his igloo. He burrows deep underneath. If it gets wet and cold we bring him inside to a shelter with his igloo with a space heater. He eats the coastal grass in his pen. He loves romaine lettuce, cactus (without spines) bell peppers and cucumbers.The horses would not step on him. They were scared of him at first. I have several posts about them. My mini horse was with him in his pen last summer, to keep him from foundering from the Spring grass. When Mini was laying down, Fast Eddie came up to inspect his hoof thinking it might be a tiny tortoise. The Sulcata station web-site is a great source for information. The Link is on my blog. let me know if you have any questions. You would not believe how much personality they have….expressions and all! Male sulcata tortoises are agressive with other tortoises….otherwise I would have more than one!

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