Did You Know?
Unlike most cats, Lions are excellent swimmers.
True to its name, the African spurred tortoise has spurs on its hind legs; however, the purpose of these spurs is unknown. Its carapace (upper shell) that is broad and oval shaped with a tan color. It is more flattened on the top with sides descending quickly, turning into serrations that turn upward on the edge. The plastron (bottom shell) is an off-white color. The skin is very thick and there are large scales on the front legs that overlap.
Surprisingly, these tortoises are able to run and burrow quite well. Most of their activity takes place between dawn and dusk, and they generally become inactive when the weather is very hot or very cold. By spending time in self dug burrows or “pallets”, the African spurred tortoise can survive extended drought periods. Adult males will hiss when approached too closely and retreat into their shell or burrow, where they wedge themselves in. Females do the same, make croaking noises, and throw the rear part of their shell violently about.
Two male spurred tortoises live here at the zoo. Both are relatively young, and should be calling the zoo home for a long time to come!
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