Dandelion Days

An environmentally friendly method of weed control has been introduced by keepers who are feeding dandelions to seven African spurred tortoises.


The giant tortoises have been tucking into the tasty treats and benefiting from the plant’s high nutritional profile.

Assistant Curator, Richard Brown, said:?”Dandelions are a very nice, natural food for our tortoises and the leaves are packed with goodness.   “They are picked and fed to the animals while absolutely fresh, and there is the added benefit that it is a completely free food source so we can save a little on our food bill, and the tortoises adore it.”   African Spurred Tortoises are also known as Sulcata Tortoises (Sulcata means ‘furrowed’ and refers to the ridges on their scales), they can grow to three feet in length and live to be 100 years old.   The species originates in the deserts of Africa and are endangered due to black market demand for shoes and handbags made from their shells, which are also sold as ornaments. dzg_tortoise_dandelion1web     dzg_tortoise_dandelion1web

CAPTION:?Senior Keeper Laura Robbins hands out the dandelions to DZG’s African spurred tortoises.