Indian Star Tortoise ( Geochelone elegans )

The Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) is a species of tortoise found in dry areas and scrub forest in India and Sri Lanka. Star tortoises get their name from their very distinct and colorful carapace (top shell) pattern. They are very delicate and their care should not be attempted by the average pet owner. Raising these animals in captivity is extremely difficult and should be left to those with advanced tortoise experience. They are very finicky eaters and gain weight extremely slowly. Stars are very shy and need time and space to find and either their food. They have a self-righting ability in when they are flipped over, their unusual shell gives them a remarkable center a gravity that allows them to flip back over easily. Star Tortoises are currently on the CITES II list of endangered species. They do not need to hibernate and are 100% herbivorous. They cannot tolerate cold temperatures and they enjoy dry, arid enclosures. They occasionally enjoy warm rain. Star Tortoises are readily available in captivity from breeders, but you will not find any long-term captives of this species. Star Tortoises are kind and peaceful, enjoying groups of 4 or 6. Indian Star Tortoises are the smallest of the star tortoises. The males average 6 inches in length and can grow to a maximum of 15 inches. The breeding season often begins after the rainy season in their native habitat. Males are not aggressive towards one another but do need some competition to induce breeding.

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