Indian star tortoise

Geochelone Elegans

Irish Name: Indiach toirtís réalta
IUCN Status: Vulnerable

The Indian star tortoise is a species of tortoise with a highly rounded shell. Their name comes from the star-like pattern on their shell. These patterns act as camouflage by helping to break up the shell outline so that it more easily blends into its surroundings.

Indian star tortoise

Geochelone Elegans

Irish Name: Indiach toirtís réalta
IUCN Status: Vulnerable

The Indian star tortoise is a species of tortoise with a highly rounded shell. Their name comes from the star-like pattern on their shell. These patterns act as camouflage by helping to break up the shell outline so that it more easily blends into its surroundings.

General Information

Where do they live? (Natural habitat)

The Indian star tortoise is found in dry forests in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

How long do they live?

30 - 80 years

What do they eat?

Indian star tortoises are mainly herbivores. They eat grasses, fruit and flowers. However, they have been known to also eat insects, dung and carrion (dead animals).

Group name

The group name for tortoises is a creep, though they are generally solitary animals.

Zoo location

Zoorassic World

Closest related species / sister species

The Burmese star tortoise is their closest relative

Animal class

Reptilia

Animal order

Testudines

Fun facts

Defensive behaviours

Males compete with rivals by shoving them and flipping them onto their backs.

Nesting

Approximately 60 days after mating, the females start looking for a suitable nesting site. When they find one, they often urinate on the soil to soften it and then begin digging out a burrow with their hind legs.

Slow season

Indian star tortoises become inactive in their native habitats during winter months.

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Family Life

The Indian star tortoise is a solitary animal (mostly lives alone). There is no care given to eggs or hatchlings.

Baby name

Hatchling

Gestation (pregnancy) period

Eggs are incubated for approximately 47–180 days.

Number of young at birth

7-10 eggs in a clutch

Weight at birth

Approximately 25-45g.

Age at maturity

Females reach maturity between 8-12 years. Males reach maturity between 6-8 years.

Adult size

Indian star tortoise can measure 20-30 cm in length and can weigh upwards of 6 kgs.

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Conservation

Vulnerable

The Indian star tortoise is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Current population estimate

Unknown, but decreasing

Threats

Threats to the Indian star tortoise include capture for the exotic pet trade and as food, pollution and habitat loss.

What is Dublin Zoo doing?

Dublin zoo is a member of the Indian star tortoise EEP and has successfully bred Indian star tortoises’ with the last clutch hatching in 2017.

Star tortoise
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FAQs

  • How big do Indian star tortoises get?

    Indian star tortoise can measure 20-30 cm in length and can weigh upwards of 6 kgs.

  • What do Indian star tortoise eat?

    Indian star tortoises are mainly herbivores. They eat grasses, fruit and flowers. However, they have been known to also eat insects, dung and carrion (dead animals).

  • Are Indian star tortoise poisonous?

    Indian star tortoises are not poisonous themselves, however, they can shed the bacteria salmonella in their faeces.

  • Can Indian star tortoise hear?

    In general, Indian star tortoises do not have ears on the outside of their bodies. The Indian star tortoise has ears that are covered by a flap of skin. Their ears are located on the side of their head, just behind their eyes. Tortoises’ do not hear sound but feel vibrations in the ground which is then transmitted to the eardrum.

  • Can Indian star tortoise live in water?

    Indian star tortoises live on land not in the water.

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