Indian Star Tortoise
Scientific Name: Geochelone elegans
It is very obvious where the Star Tortoise gets its name. The carapace of a Star Tortoise is grayish brown and sometimes almost black in color with a golden brown star pattern on their Carapace plates. Hatchling Star Tortoises are very small, measuring only slightly over an inch in length. The entire carapace of a hatchling is very smooth, but at about one year old their carapace plates will begin to pyramid and continue to develop in this way as they approach adulthood. Star Tortoise hatchlings also grow at an extremely quick rate and will be about one third longer than what they were as hatchlings after only six months. An adult Star Tortoises shell is high-domed and slightly elongated. The females are typically larger than the males with broader shells and an adult length of about 10 inches, while the males generally have smoother carapaces and reach a length of generally no longer than 6 inches.
The Star Tortoise should be housed outdoors where weather permits. A shallow dish put into the ground with a shallow amount of water should also be kept in the pen so that the tortoise can occasionally soak itself and drink. Star Tortoises should have a daytime temperature gradient from 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the warmest area to about 80 degrees at the cooler area. At night the temperature should be in the low to mid 70s. They should have hide boxes in both the warm and cooler areas.
Indian Star Tortoises should be fed a diet of grasses and dark leafy green vegetables. A phosphorous free calcium supplement on their food daily and use a reptile multivitamins weekly is recommended to keep your tortoise in good health.
The Star Tortoises breeding season is from June to October. The female will find a site and dig a nest to lay her eggs in. She may lay 8 or 9 clutches a year, and each clutch generally contains 5 to 7 eggs. If incubated at 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the eggs will usually hatch between 100 and 110 days.
The star pattern on their shells blends in and camouflages thems in the high grass.
The Indian Star Tortoise is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful tortoises in the world.
If you have had experience with owning a Tortoise before then perhaps you should consider the Indian Star Tortoise. It is one of the higher maintenance Tortoises, but it is also one of the most beautiful. People who have owned a tortoise can tell you how much fun they are to own and with a particularly attractive one like the Star Tortoise it is not hard to find those eager to try and raise one. One thing to keep in mind though is that, if you are looking into the possible ownership of a Star Tortoise you are also looking into accepting a huge responsibility. In the wild the Star Tortoise is typically found in high grassy jungles and lowland dry forests.
The Star Tortoise is a native of Ceylon as well as central and southern India.
The Star Tortoise is completely herbivorous.