Most people are surprised when they discover the answer to the question of how big does Sulcata Tortoises actually get. These amazing little animals can grow to be about ten inches long. There is some variation though, depending on the species. Some of these little giants can get as large as fifteen inches! This is not unusual though, since most of them are native to the Andes Mountains in South America.
Most people are aware that these tortoises are quite shy and don’t like to be handled unless they are in a very shallow water area where they can hide. If you have ever seen pictures or video of Sulcata tortoises in their natural habitat, you’ll see that they are really shy and will often stay right alone. It takes a trained person to tame one of these animals, even an older one, because it will easily bite and sting if threatened. When it comes to the wild though, they are quite docile, being primarily carnivores.
Tortoises do better in the wild when they are housed in aquariums with plenty of rocks and other items to climb on. They also do best in areas of deep shade in which to burrow. They need to be kept in shallow water at all times, so you should never set up a tank without this requirement. If you do not have a very deep water tank then you might consider putting your sulcata into a tub.
The third question people often ask about how big do sulcata tortoises get is about how long they take to grow. Like most turtles and tortoises, they are usually only a couple of inches long when they are newly born. They will continue to grow throughout their captivity in a natural way and will reach full size in about three years, sometimes a bit longer. They can be kept in captivity for a bit longer, but most experts recommend that they are only kept for a maximum of ten years.
Their lifespan is really dependent upon a lot of factors. It depends on how big are the tortoises, how many are there, what environment they live in and how long they are kept in captivity. A good rule of thumb is that African spurred tortoises can live up to three hundred years in captivity.
Sulcata tortoises are not at all happy in the wild, so you will have to give them a lot of room to move around and to eat. If you choose to purchase a pair of African spurred Teguises, you will want to make sure that they have access to enough space outside of their indoor enclosure to graze and to get some kind of exercise. There are a couple things that you can do to help with the exercise. You can place a small piece of wood or some dry foliage among the rocks in your outdoor enclosure and then cover it up with some plastic wrap or burlap.