How Long Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep?

How Long Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep? When it comes to sleep, Sulcata Tortoises are fascinating among other tortoises. They are one of the some species of tortoises that do not hibernate. Although they can withstand some shockingly low temperatures, they cannot be left outside in cold, damp weather or allowed to get both chilled and wet. They must therefore be kept suitably warm, particularly throughout the winter months.

How Long Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep
Sulcata Tortoise Sleep Duration

At other times of the year, Sulcata Tortoises typically sleep 10-12 hours daily. An essential part of keeping a Sulcata Tortoise healthy is that a pet owner understands its natural sleep patterns. In this article, we will explore how long Sulcata Tortoises typically sleep and the benefits of providing them with a safe and secure environment.

How Many Hours Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep?

Generally, Sulcata Tortoises will sleep for about 10 to 12 hours each day. During this time, they take several short naps, which can last from a few minutes to a few hours. The amount of sleep they get depends on the time of year, temperature, and other environmental factors.

How Long Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep?
How Many Hours Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep

When it comes to colder months, Sulcata Tortoises can withstand temperatures between 38 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit. They risk freezing to death if the temperature falls below 38 degrees for any substantial period. Even if they don’t pass away, these temperatures could permanently harm their tissue or render them blind. 

On the other hand, baby Sulcatas can sleep up to 22 hours per day. This protracted naptime is a hereditary trait of young tortoises. Due to their small size, these hatchlings cannot move around in the wild. They worry about coming across a predator. The majority of the babies’ days are thus spent sleeping.

When Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep?

Sulcata Tortoises, also known as African spurred tortoises, are widely kept as pets due to their gentle personalities and low-maintenance requirements. These desert-dwelling reptiles are active during the day, but when do Sulcata Tortoises sleep?

How Long Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep
How Long Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep

Sulcata Tortoises are most active during the warmer months when temperatures are higher and the days are longer. During this time, they will often be out and about for most of the day, foraging for food, basking in the sun, and exploring their environment. As the days begin to cool and the nights get longer, Sulcata Tortoises will slow down and become less active.

Because they have a diurnal sleeping pattern, Sulcata Tortoises sleep when it is dark. However, because they cannot sense the time, Sulcata Tortoises use the amount of light that enters their enclosure to distinguish between day and night. When the UV bulb in their enclosure is switched off, indoor Sulcata Tortoises will doze off and awaken later.

Where Should A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep?

When deciding where to put your Sulcata Tortoise’s sleeping place, there are a few things to remember. You will want to ensure the spot is secure and safe from potential predators, such as cats or dogs. It is also essential to consider the temperature of the sleeping area. Here are our top sleeping place recommendations that will be loved by your Sulcata Tortoises.


Sulcata tortoises might enjoy sleeping in holes because it provides them with a safe, secure, and sheltered place to rest. Holes offer protection from predators and the elements and provide a comfortable, dark, and cozy atmosphere for these animals to sleep in. 

How Long Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep

In addition, the soil in holes helps to regulate the tortoise’s body temperature, allowing them to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Layers of the substrate can be provided for the turtles kept in captivity. So the tortoises are free to dig if they so choose.


It is crucial to provide your Sulcata Tortoise with a comfortable sleeping surface. A soft substrate, such as shredded paper or aspen shavings, is ideal. With this substrate, your Sulcata Tortoises can sleep without any support.

In addition, sterilized soil is an attractive choice because it eliminates all bacteria and germs. Other options include soil and coconut coir mix, coconut husk chips, peat moss, sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, and orchid bark.


Sulcata tortoises love to sleep on rocks because it offers them a warm and safe place to rest. The rocks also provide insulation from the night’s cold temperatures and absorb heat from the sun during the day. Additionally, the stones give the tortoises something to hide under when feeling threatened.

In their native to the deserts of Africa, they also love to hide under the rocks. When creating a sleeping area for your Sulcata tortoise, try to replicate this environment as best as possible. 

You Might Also Like:

Why Does My Sulcata Tortoise Sleep A Lot?

One typical behavior that can be confusing for owners is that Sulcata Tortoises seem to sleep a lot. While these animals can be active and alert when awake, they can also spend hours – or even days – sleeping. So, why do Sulcata Tortoises sleep so much? Let us answer your curiosity in the following points.

Low Temperature

Sulcata Tortoises are native to the African savanna, where the temperatures can be scorching hot. To survive in this environment, Sulcatas have adapted by spending a lot of their day sleeping in the shade to conserve energy and keep their body temperatures comfortable. As their environment temperature is too low all day, you may find them sleeping a lot.

It’s important to keep an eye on the temperature at night. With the help of a heat lamp or a UV lamp, you can provide Sulcata Tortoises with the warm habitat and basking area they require.


Sulcata Tortoises are known to sleep a lot due to their age. In general, adult Sulcatas can sleep for about 12 hours. Meanwhile, baby Sulcatas are known to sleep for 19-22 hours.

How Long Does A Sulcata Tortoise Sleep

As they grow older, they require more rest and will sleep for longer periods, usually called brumation. This is normal behavior for aging Sulcata Tortoises and is nothing to worry about.

Lack of UV Lights

Sulcata Tortoises use visual cues from lighting to know when to go to sleep. Some habitats, however, need more illumination, use inappropriate kinds of light, or employ their lighting inadvertently. Without proper UV lights, your Sulcatas may spend the whole day sleeping.

UV lighting is the most frequently mentioned item while constructing a tortoise’s home. A tortoise’s health depends on UV light, which produces little visible light. As a result, build an enclosure that provides UV and visible light in every habitat area.

Winter Season

Your Sulcata Tortoise will develop brumating habits spontaneously over the winter. Reptiles that are hibernating are known as brumation. They will then cease eating and rest until the weather warms up once more. Your Sulcata Tortoise may be getting ready for brumation if you see it become less active during the winter. 

Sulcata tortoises brumate during the winter season in order to conserve energy and resources. During brumation, they slow down their metabolism and become less active, sleeping for more extended periods of time. This allows them to survive the cold temperatures and lack of food during the winter.

Stress and Diseases

A Sulcata Tortoise may sleep more deeply and for longer periods of time if it is under stress. Numerous factors, such as insufficient nourishment, a lack of space, dehydration, a lack of toys or enrichment, or predators like cats and dogs, are among the causes of stress.

Stress and Diseases
Stress and Diseases

Besides, Sulcata Tortoises that are ill require additional rest. Expect your Sulcatas to sleep more than normal if they’re suffering. A sick Sulcata Tortoise will also likely be less active than usual, making it seem weaker.

How Do I Sleep My Sulcata Tortoise?

Sulcata Tortoises should be allowed to sleep in the same conditions as they live during the day. Keep the temperature between 75-85°F (24-29°C) and provide a humid hide or burrow to which the tortoise can retreat. If the temperature drops below 65°F (18°C) during the night, provide a heat lamp or heat emitter to keep the enclosure warm.

How Do I Sleep My Sulcata Tortoise?
How Do I Sleep My Sulcata Tortoise

If you put your Sulcatas indoors, you should be responsible for waking them up after several hours. The best way to wake up your Sulcata Tortoise is to move it to a warmer location and provide it with a source of light and heat, such as a basking lamp. Additionally, you can gently stroke its shell and offer it food.

Sleeping Benefits for A Sulcata Tortoise

Sulcata tortoises get many benefits from sleeping every day. Sleeping helps them to conserve energy, regulate their body temperature, rest and restore their energy levels, and provide a sense of security. It also helps them to remain healthy and alert during the day. Sleeping helps them to stay warm and keep their skin hydrated. It also helps them to digest their food more effectively and absorb more nutrients. 

Sleeping Benefits for A Sulcata Tortoise
Sleeping Benefits for A Sulcata Tortoise

Although Sulcatas do not hibernate, they still need a long sleep during winter. Sulcatas require a long period of hibernation, or “brumation,” each year in order to stay healthy. Brumation helps the tortoise conserve energy, as it can reduce its activity level and metabolism during this time. It also provides protection from predators, as the burrow provides a safe and secure place for the tortoise to rest. Additionally, brumation allows Sulcatas to rest from the heat of the day and to regulate their body temperatures more effectively.


Sulcata Tortoises typically sleep for up to 12 hours a day. Their sleeping patterns are influenced by both internal and external factors. It is essential to provide them with the right environment, temperature, and lighting levels so that they can sleep comfortably and safely. Hopefully, our informative article will help you understand the reasons why they sleep and appreciate their resilience.

Latest Post:

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is it normal for a sulcata tortoise to sleep a lot?

Yes, it is normal for Sulcata Tortoises to sleep a lot. This is because Sulcata Tortoises are primarily active during the day and need to rest for long periods of time in order to maintain their energy levels. Additionally, Sulcata Tortoises often become inactive during the winter months due to the cold weather. However, you should be aware that they do not hibernate. Anything under 17°C (63 F) will cause their bodies to shut down, and they could die rapidly.

How do sulcata tortoises sleep?

Sulcata Tortoises typically sleep during the day and are active during the night. They usually burrow into the ground to sleep, creating a small tunnel and then covering up the entrance with dirt. Moreover, they also may dig burrows to escape the heat of the day. They typically won’t sleep unless UV lights are turned off, or the sun has set.

What time should the tortoise go to bed?

Tortoises typically go to bed in the late evening, around 8 or 9 PM, as they need darkness and cool temperature to sleep. We recommend you turn off all heating and lighting systems because they could drop to room temperature. It is vital for tortoises to stick to a regular sleep schedule as this can help them stay healthy and happy.

Do sulcata tortoises like to be touched?

Sulcata tortoises do not generally enjoy being touched, as they are easily startled and may become defensive. They do not have the same kind of social interactions that other animals have, so they do not have the same kind of comfort with being touched as some other animals. 

Moreover, male Sulcatas, in particular, are territorial as adults. They enjoy keeping watch along the perimeter of the enclosure’s fence and may even charge at an intruder.

Do sulcata tortoises sleep at night?

Yes, Sulcata Tortoises naturally sleep at night. As diurnal animals, Sulcata Tortoises sleep at night and are awake during the day. They will continue to have this sleeping pattern if they receive the required amount of UV light outdoors.

Meanwhile, indoor Sulcatas sleep based on UV light and temperature. When they can’t see and feel natural sunlight, the UV light, and warm conditions will wake them up. As they get less UV light and lower temperature, your Sulctas tend to sleep a lot. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *