Heavyweight South Yorkshire tortoise tips scales at eight stones

Smarty the Sulcata tortoise
Smarty the Sulcata tortoise
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A HEAVYWEIGHT new resident has moved into a South Yorkshire animal centre - and the stout-shelled creature has been impressing visitors with his size.

Smarty the Sulcata tortoise is 11 years old and tips the scales at eight stone - heavy even for his breed.

Sulcatas are the third-largest tortoises in the world, and are native to Northern and Central Africa.

Smarty is currently settling in to a special purpose-built enclosure at the Tropical Butterfly House in North Anston.

Sulcatas usually live in desert-like conditions where there is very little rainfall, and are capable of digging extensive burrows in the ground to escape the extreme temperatures.

Smarty’s enclosure features a large outdoor grazing area, as well as a glass-fronted indoor hut, complete with underfloor heating and a heat lamp.

Adult male Sulcatas are nicknamed ‘death-heads’ because their head resembles the grim reaper.

The species does not hibernate, meaning visitors can enjoy seeing Smarty all year round.

n Visit www.butterflyhouse.co.uk for more information.