Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys Radiata)
IUCN: Red List: Critically Endangered
“The world’s most beautiful tortoise” is a nickname which has followed the Radiated Tortoise since its discovery on the island of Madagascar. Predominantly yellow in appearance with elephantine feet & a blunt head, the Radiated Tortoise earns its name from the finely detailed “star shaped pattern” which radiates of its dome shaped carapace. Due to the elegant nature of these animals, they fetch a high price for animal smugglers & poachers looking to churn a profit. Locals have additionally been known to gift Radiated Tortoise as wedding presents while others have adopted them as pets from the wild.
These reptiles are primarily herbivores, normally found grazing on grass, low lying plants & fruit in the Southern areas of Madagascar, all the while preferring to live solitary, peaceful lives in a habitat devoid of predators such as dry regions of brush, spiky thorn forests as well as woodland areas which additionally serve as a means of shelter & protection.
The species drinks gallons of water to avoid long periods of dehydration. In fact, according to a particular study, the Radiated tortoise shows aggregation behavior during the wet season at discrete sites. The study suggests that the species has an underlying knowledge of certain sites where water is plenty. During such a period the tortoise drinks a lot of water which it stores within its body. This adaptation allows it to withstand the hottest temperatures of the year and go without water for long periods. The Radiated Tortoise is a solitary traveler but during the wet season, it comes together for mating and uptake of large amounts of water.
- Female radiated tortoises lay and deposit eggs in holes that they dig, numbering 3 to 12 eggs at a time, and they leave them to incubate and hatch 4 to 8 months later.
- Radiated tortoises have a mostly yellow coloured head and legs; and on average, they live for 30 to 90 years, although one has been recorded to live to around 188 years old.
- While radiated tortoises are protected, they are ranked as critically endangered, due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for the shell, meat and pet industry.
- Radiated tortoises can produce grunting and hissing noises, as well as screeching sounds to scare off predators.
- Females lay from three to 12 eggs in a pre-excavated hole 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) deep and then depart. Incubation is quite long in this species, lasting usually between five and eight months.
Fruits & Vegetables
|Origin:||Madagascar & S.America|
|Size:||Up to 41cm|
|Weight:||Up to 16kg|
|Lifespan||Up to 50years|