Experience of Caring for Sulcata Tortoise and How to Care for

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Tortoises are one of the reptile animals that have ages that can reach tens or even hundreds of years.

Today many people in Indonesia and the world are making tortoises as their beloved animals (in the family) marked by many online discussion forums about Tortoises, including those who film their beloved Tortoises, which can be viewed on Youtube.

Some tortoises can live in two realms, water, and land, named freshwater tortoises and some can only live on land called land tortoises.

The beginning of my interest in tortoises was after I peeked at my friend’s cellphone, who was browsing about this one animal a few months ago.

At that time, I saw my friend open the picture of a tortoise-type Sulcata on his cellphone. I asked him what kind of tortoise he was looking at.

Then my friend told me that it was a type of Sulcata, and according to the story, he had kept the tortoise even though only a few months because his tortoise died without knowing why.

I am curious and do my own “exploration” through the internet about this Sulcata.

It turns out that this type of tortoise came from Africa, and there have been many discussion groups on Facebook and in the Kaskus, whose topics revolve around Sulcata.

I got information that Sulcata is the third most giant tortoise in the world (after Galapagos and Aldabra Tortoises) with a length that can reach around 70 cm.

Through the Google window, I also find out about other types of tortoises for comparison.

But my interest at that time was more inclined to this type of Sulcata, because of its large adult size, docile disposition, an appearance which I think is quite exotic (looks ancient but has attractive colors) and has a price that is still “affordable” if compared to 2 other Tortoises that have bigger body.

Finally, after browsing the internet about Sulcata and asking for input from my friends, I decided to adopt this animal from one of the pet shop located in the Mangga Besar area of ​​North Jakarta.

At that time, I chose to adopt a Sulcata about 4.5-5 cm in size (according to the seller, I myself did not measure it directly), which in my opinion, looks the most agile among other friends.

I also didn’t forget to buy supporting equipment so that my Sulcata would avoid unwanted things later, namely UVB and UVA lamps, which the seller said if both of them were turned on together for 6 hours could function like 10-minute sunlight.

According to the seller, the two lamps should be switched on for a minimum of 12 hours a day (if the tortoise doesn’t get sunlight).

With a little struggle, because at that time I was riding a motorcycle and suddenly it was raining in the middle of the trip, this little tortoise finally arrived safely to its destination, my home.

Immediately I prepare the place along with the heating lamp.

Initially, I prepared a place for the tortoise, which I named Milo, in the form of a plastic filing container about 60cmx30cm in size.

Do not forget I attach UVA and UVB lamps as a warmer and as an alternative to ultraviolet.

At that time, Milo, whom I had just moved to a new place, seemed not to move much and seemed to be still afraid to get out of his shell, probably because he was tired and still afraid of my presence and curious home people wanted to see him.


Although I was a little worried because his condition which was previously active became not much motion (almost silent), finally after about 10 minutes of observing, I brought Milo and left him in a room on the 2nd floor (top).

That day I had not given Milo food, because before I saw him he was already hungrily enough to eat leaves such as mustard greens where I bought them.

Today it’s almost 4 months since I bought my beloved tortoise (precisely on July 22, 2017 ago), and thank God my torto looks healthy and its presence can make our family entertained. Mainly because in our home there are many children and toddlers.


Milo length has now reached approximately 6.2 cm.

From my experience buying Tortoise and raising it until now, the following are tips that I can give to readers, as a reference from a beginner (me), and also myself have explored seniors who have long and more experience kept this type of tortoise which I then follow:

Tips on Choosing a Sulcata Tortoise

  • Choose the Lively (the most agile among others)
  • Choose those who are not timid or who are not easily scared when approached. If the tortoise we choose has a cowardly nature then it will be more difficult to adapt and the possibility of the tortoise is easily stressed.
  • Choose the neat style and if possible choose a clean style
  • Choose which is proportional and round like an egg (this option can be adjusted to your interests)

Tips on Sulcata Tortoise Care

  • These tips apply to those who live in the Jakarta area and areas where the weather or climate is not much different from the conditions in Jakarta
  • Provide a large enough cage for the tortoise to explore (at least 100x60cm for small tortoise under 10 cm). As the base, the tortoise cage can be given cocopeat media (coconut fiber fermentation). Do not forget to also provide water as a drink.
  • Diligently soaking your Sulcata with water (rather warm) at least once every 2 days, I myself soak a tortoise every day before leaving for office for 5 minutes at around 6:20 am. The immersion water is no higher than a tortoise’s mouth. It should be noted that tortoises that are still baby (under 10 cm) are prone to dehydration.
  • If possible sunbathing tortoise every 2 days (10 minutes each) or at least 2 times a week (30 minutes each before 10 o’clock). Try when sunbathing or before you finish sunbathing the tortoise soaked for 5-10 minutes.
  • When you do not have time to sunbathing the torto, turn on your UVA and UVB lamps together for approximately 12 hours to provide an alternative to ultraviolet light and to warm your tortoise. But if you have time to sunbathing the torto in the morning, you only need to turn on the UVA lamp as a tortoise heater. At night you can turn off the two lights.
  • We recommend that you give natural food in the form of: Siomak (Lactuca sativa), fumak (Lactuca sativa), pakchoy (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis), kailan (Brassica oleracea), centong cactus (Opuntia cochenillifera) and hibiscus alternately. For example siomak 3 days, Opuntia cochenillifera 2 days, then hibiscus 2 days, etc.
  • Don’t forget the need for calcium (which I do by giving cuttlefish once or twice a week)
  • Often place the tortoise outside their enclosures (for example in grass or yard with many plants). If you are busy enough for 10 minutes before leaving for office or while you exercise or have breakfast.
  • Let the tortoises adapt themselves without you intervening so much that your tortoises don’t strain easily.

It was night and tomorrow I had to wake up early because of the unpredictable traffic conditions in Jakarta.

I have finished the tips on caring for this turtle, hopefully it will be useful for those of you who want to adopt a tortoise, especially Sulcata species.

Milo updates after 1 year of age (22 June 2018):

  • Length 10.5-11 cm
  • Weight of 330 grams (more)


Milo Update after 1 year and 3 months old (September 22, 2018), like to eat grass at home:

  • About 14 cm long



Milo updates after 1 year 7 months 19 days (10 Feb 2019):

  • Eating: Lettuce, centong cactus, lawn
  • Length (bottom shell / excluding head) 18.2 cm
  • Weight 1.2 kg



Milo updates after 1 year 11 months 10 days (30 May 2019):

  • Eating: Lettuce, centong cactus, lawn
  • Length (bottom shell / excluding head) 22 cm
  • Weight: 1.8-1.9 kg


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