SOCIAL LIFE SOLITARY
It is the largest tortoise in continental Africa and is surpassed only by the giant island species, such as the Aldabra, in Seychelles, or the Galapagos. Males are larger than females; the carapace of a male can measure about 83cm long, and the complete curve, 1 meter, while in females the circumference measures about 70cm.
The species is usually found in habitats where streams or rivers are formed periodically or intermittently, locally called ‘kori’ in the Sahelian regions, which maintain semi-deciduous shrubby vegetation. They are also associated with dune systems and slopes.
Males in particular are highly territorial, with frequent fighting in which they attempt to overturn the opponent. They make use of burrows and above-ground activity is mainly concentrated in the early morning hours.
African Spurred Tortoise populations have declined in a short time due to habitat loss, largely as a result of urbanization, overgrazing by domestic livestock, and desertification. Many young individuals of the species are also taken for trade, and since this species takes 15 years to reach maturity, there is great fear that the wild generations will be unable to recover and that local populations will become extinct as a result.