Thursday, October 24, 2013

Characteristics of the Sulcata Tortoise

The Sulcata tortoise is a species coming from North Africa, but which lives in the South East of Europe, and in the Middle Orient. It is frequently met in the Mediterranean Basin. It prefers the semi-desert areas, with dunes of sand. However, it also likes the forests, and it can reach altitudes of 1000 meters.

The length of the carapace is of 20-25 centimeters, but some can reach 3.5 centimeters. The surface of the shell is smooth and rounded, and the grey color has black dots. The carapace has a yellow green color. For males, it is concave, and for the young exemplars and the adult females, the carapace is flatter. The smell is the most important sense, but the Sulcata tortoise also sees perfectly, and it can distinguish colors and shapes. The Sulcata tortoise needs to spend the first hours of the day in the sun, with the goal of increasing the body temperature, and to reactivate the metabolism.

During the reproductive period, which takes place at the end of May, the female lays 2-8 eggs in humid soil. She digs the holes with the posterior members. She is pretty fast, being able to dig in one quarter of hour. She uses the force of members and the sharp claws for that, and then she covers the hole with sand, to protect them from predators and cold. After 2-3 months, the eggs hatch, and the little tortoises start their fight for survival. They are an easy prey for birds, and their carapace is soft, so they are a wanted prey for all kinds of predators.

The small turtles reach sexual maturity around the age of 14, and they can survive in captivity for 100 years. Their food is mainly composed of dry leaf, but also insects and worms. In conditions of captivity, the tortoise eats salad, citric fruits, bread and milk. However, they always need leaf for fibers and calcium. This type of tortoise is a vulnerable species and it is threatened by extinction.

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