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Wildlife Presentations - 12pm, 2pm, 4pm Swine Time Pig Races (Until Labor Day) - 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm
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The African Spur Thigh Tortoise

By Chris Taylor Sunday, August 5, 2018

Greetings friends and welcome to this week’s blog post. August is roaring right along here. The days are hot and we’re into the final stretch of the summer. This week we’re going to take a look at the African spur-thigh tortoise.

Timbavati Wildlife Park is home to the third largest species of tortoise, the African spur thigh. This tortoise is a native of the Savannas and Saharan desert in Africa. They eat grasses, desert scrub and get their water from the plants that they eat, they’re really fond of the Morning Glory plant.

A tortoise is a land dwelling reptile that has both an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton in the form of its shell. Here’s a great way to tell the difference between a tortoise and a turtle.  A turtle will have webbed flipper style feet better suited for swimming, and a tortoise will have claws with more stumpy appendages.

 

Tortoises With Climate Colored Shells

Tortoises with lighter shells come from warmer climates and ones with darker shells come from cooler environments. There are about 40 different types of tortoises. The Aldabra and Galapagos Tortoises are the largest of the species and can weigh up to and over 600 pounds. You can also tell the approximate age of a tortoise by counting the rings on the scutes (individual shell plates).

The spur thigh mates just after the rainy season between September and November. After about 2 months of gestation, the female lays 15 to 30 eggs. Then she fills her nest in with dirt and the babies hatch in about eight months.

Tortoises are cool characters and we have no shortage of them grooving around Timbavati Wildlife park. When you’re in the park if you’re lucky enough to see one go into its shell, listen to see if you can hear it exhale first. It has to expel the air in its body before it does.

If you didn’t know, we have a summer fun combo ticket with Noah’s Ark. That’s right, you can get two great tickets for one great price! See our website for more details.

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