Spur Thigh Tortoise

Native to South Sahara deserts, covering Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Sudan and Ethiopia, this animal has distinctive spurs on the rear legs, which give it its name. This is the largest mainland tortoise in the world (and second only to the giant tortoises of the Galapagos and Aldabra Islands). Males are slightly larger than females. The tortoise shell can reach 36 in in length, and weight exceeds 220 lbs. The carapace consists of several scutes, each featuring growth rings. Thick skin keeps moisture inside the body and thus prevents dehydration. These tortoises are known as eating machines and will spend hours grazing on grasses and hay, succulents, plants and leaf matter. A Sulcata tortoise can live up to 70 years!