Tortoise Handbook

Rocky is a Geochelone Sulcata Tortoise. After we moved to Hong Kong, he suffered pyramiding when living indoor in 1997. We moved to a rooftop apartment in June 2000. In 2008, a bigger area rooftop home was built for Rocky and Shauna.

My tortoises grow healthy in a better environment. The pyramiding problem is improving and the color of the carapace changes lighter as well.

Keep a healthy tortoise

Carapace :

sample-imageThe lack of calcium on the shell results in conical shell scutes, AKA pyramiding.   Greater reductions in calcium will cause a soft shell and will kill a tortoise.

Skin :

sample-imageThe skin is thick and well blended into the shell.   Be careful of any cut or infections on the skin.

Nose :

sample-imageThe most common symptom of coolness is runny or bubbly nose.   Try to keep the tortoise in a warm home and clean-up the nose with dry towel.

If the respiratory problem goes worse, must visit a veterinarian.

Eyes :

sample-imageRunny eyes, dry eyes, eyes chesses and eyes can't open are common symptom on eye problems.  Clean the eyes with vitamin A & D oil capsule.

When the temperature is too hot, tortoise cries to keep the eyes wet.

Mouth :

sample-imageA over-bit mouth should be ground with a fine grindstone.   Don't feed with small and soft food.   Tortoise needs to bite the food to prevent the jaw grows too fast.

Food :

sample-imageSoaked dry grasses, weeds, carrots and mustard greens are main food for tortoise.    Sprinkling the food with crashed egg shells as calcium supplement once a week.

Faeces :

sample-imageKeep watching the form of faeces.   They should be dry, relatively firm and not smelly.   The high fiber diet caused well formed wastes.

Urine :

sample-imageThe white material excreted with urine is urates.   Sulcata tortoise's urates are soft like watery toothpaste.

Common Problems for Tostoise

  1. Grows too fast due to over feed
  2. Lack of room and sunlight due to indoor living environment
  3. Pyramiding due to lack of calcium and too much protein

Feed a wide variety of food

  1. Ensure not to feed one plant or veges as a majority tortoise's diet for an extended period of time
  2. Try different dark greens, fruits and edible flowers as diet
  3. Avoid high protein food such as peas and beans
  4. Provide a fresh drinking water dish so tortoise can drink when needed
    • Young tortoises feed daily in morning and evening
    • Adult tortoises feed once a day in the morning
    • Limit feeding waterly vegetables, such as salad veges and lettuces, which are low fibre and give rise to loose faeces

Tortoise Gender

Sulcata Mating. Link to all videos

Mating action Mar 2016

Tortoise Size Comparison 2017


Sulcata is a giant African Spur-thigh tortoise has a flat carapace. The shape of the shell is rectangular. It is hard to tell the sex before 3 years old.

Visually, the carapaces of the males tend to become more elongate with growth while those of the females become more round. Males have longer thinker tails and the body size is generally larger. 

Shauna has a false mating act in 2016. she is confirmed as a female after she laid two eggs in 2018.

Rocky shows his male organ the first time in 2003

The size of Sulcata and Leopard has big different.

Rocky. Hong Kong

Rocky shows his male organ in July 2014

I laid two unfertized eggs in Nov 2018.

Shauna. Hong Kong
Rocky footer 2022