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African Spur Thigh, Good Pet?

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by WormFood, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. WormFood

    WormFood Active Member

    I'm very interested in getting an African spur thigh tortoise, and im moving very soon to a place with much more space. Best part is my girlfriend isn't to fond of herps and actually wants a tortoise! I was wondering if anyone here has or had one? or if anyone could say if this is a good choice in tortoise or if any other specie is a better choice? i just want a BIG tortoise.
  2. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    Going to assume you mean Sulcata tortoises, right? :)

    Well..You'll get big if you get one of these.. You really need to be prepared for the size, as you can't just stick it in a small box. And even putting them out in the yard is tricky, as they can burrow....really deep!!! I've seen them dig out of yards before. You'd need to build yourself an enclosure and make sure it's escape proof(and predator proof!) and if you live in a place that gets cold in the winter you'll want to provide a warm place--that may mean giving them a room during the winter or building a heated shed! Also remember--these guys can get to 100 pounds..maybe more! So figure out how you'll move the beast when it's vet time or he needs to go inside for whatever reason!

    Now, they start out as babies and though they grow fast, they don't get humongous fast, but you would need to start getting your enclosure set up pretty fast. The time WILL fly by.

    We are interested in them for sure, but can't provide the space for an adult so we are waiting. You want big, I can understand, I'm the same way. I'd have a galapagos if I could, LOL!

    I see a lot of people start with these. Tortoises in general rock, and they all have great personalities. If you have the space and money to give it the right enclosure, I don't see why you couldn't handle one. But don't get one if you're going to cut corners or don't think you can give it the right home!
  3. hennisntacanibal

    hennisntacanibal Elite Member

    I love my sulcata (when he's not hibernating). They are absolute eating and pooping MACHINES, though, so be prepared to spend a lot on food, and keep in mind they are the third largest tortoise species in the world, and live a long time. Not a small investment. I have this book: "Sulcatas: African Spurred Tortoises in Captivity (Professional Breeders Series)" by Ross Gurley and I absolutely recommend it for anyone interested in owning one. You are going to have to make a custom enclosure, even for a baby. They do not do well in glass tanks.
    These tortoises are a lot of fun to keep, but are also a lot lot LOT of work.
  4. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Not to mention the daily food requirements of making salads.
    What area do you live in?
  5. WormFood

    WormFood Active Member

    i live in upstate new york, but i am moving into a large house soon and the entire basement is going to be renovated into my reptile wonderland :) so ill have plenty of indoor space for a tortoise in time. its definitely not something im rushing into, and i do plan on having a nice big garden specifically for the reps witch should cut down their food prices during the warmer months. and im pretty **** handy with some power tools so custom enclosures are a no brainer for me. i actually plan of making a bunch of them and selling them at my local expos(Ive seen such horribly made ones sell for hundreds). my only concern is moving a tortoise from the basement to outdoors, there are storm doors and building an access ramp would be cake, and plenty of space to make it a gradual incline. do you guys think one would easily use one? especially if introduced to it at a young, movable age?
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I'm really glad to hear that you are doing the research on this first.
    Make VERY sure that you know what you are letting yourself in for. Sulcatas are one of the species most often ending up in rescues when the reality of dealing with a 150-200 lb animal resembling a living bulldozer comes home to roost! They are very strong, and have been known to plow right thru sheetrock and wooden walls. So you are looking at a concrete wall to retain them indoors or out. As stated they are prodigious diggers so the concrete walls of the outside enclosure are going to have to be extended underground. They are known for digging their way out of insufficient enclosures and going exploring.
    They are also quite long lived, with estimates at 100 years or so. So they will most likely out live you if taken proper care of.
    I understand the fascination of those cute little hatchlings and the idea of having a giant tortoise for a pet.

    But the reality is most people just aren't up to the task. I know I am not.
  7. WormFood

    WormFood Active Member

    Unfortunately the weight factor will probably be where i have to accept the fact that it may be too much for my household :( My girlfriend brought up a very good point that she will not be able to move a full grown one if im off at a festival for a week or somthing of the sort..... im gonna keep the dream alive tho! Any suggestions of a tort maxing out at maybe around 60 -70?
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Well they are only about half that big but the South American red foots are nice tortoises. One of the shops that used to be around here had an adult as the store pet. He just wandered all over the shop and people interacted with him. I am not sure that you could have provoked that tort enough to bite!
    He had a load of character and was not nearly as big a problem as a sulcata would be.
  9. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    Ohh.. Maybe a leopard tortoise! A REALLY big one could end up at 90 pounds..and a small one could end up at 30-50... but I guess around average could end up in that range! They can be like 16-20 inches long.


    (example of a baby and an adult)

    Attached Files:

  10. WormFood

    WormFood Active Member

    The south american red foot looks really awesome! In some of the pics i found on google they had markings on their face that looked like it belongs on a heavy metal album cover or darth maul or something, lol! My girlfriend really likes the leopard tortoise as well...Buuuut as i said tho, im not rushing into it so i have some time to think about it.

    Any torts that also have the shredder looking legs like the sulcata*?
  11. methos75

    methos75 Elite Member

    Sulcata's do not hibernate, if he is something is very, very wrong

    Post edited for language!

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