Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone Elegans) is an imposing tortoise, not especially because of its sizes, but because of the beautiful colors of the carapace. The yellow colors radiating on a black background makes this tortoise unique. However, beauty is a curse sometimes, and this was proven by the Indian Star Tortoise. During the last two centuries, considering the interest of Europeans and Americans for this species, they were hunted and caught. The problem is that those tortoises rarely adapt to the climate in other areas. Therefore, the majority of tortoises that reached the European and American countries died after a few months. Today, it is an endangered species and it is protected by the law.

The Indian Tortoises are not territorial. This means that they can be grown together. They are peaceful animals, unlike their “cousins” from Europe, which are sometimes violent one with the other, especially during the mating season. Those tortoises are native from India and Pakistan, but they can also be found in…the United States. However, the Star Tortoise is a little different here, being considered as a part of a different family.

If you are looking for a Star tortoise as a pet, you will have to look for an authorized breeder. Importing such a tortoise from their native grounds is forbidden and punished.

The Indian Star tortoise female is larger than the male. The females can reach 25-30 centimeters, while the male reach 20-25 centimeters. They can live for 30-80 years, but because there are no official records, those numbers are a little arbitrary. The captive tortoises might live longer than the ones from the wild, but only if they are well taken care of.

The cage for such a tortoise must be placed outdoors, in warm areas. It is possible to grow such a tortoise inside a house, but special sources of heat and light are required. A pen of 2-3 square meters is enough for one tortoise. Unlike other tortoises, this one does not dig, so you don’t need to burry the walls of the cage. If you can plant alfalfa and grass in a part of the cage, it is great, as this way, the tortoise will have fresh food at its disposal. Of course, a portion of deep sand is required. Even if the Star tortoise usually does not dig, the female needs this place for laying eggs. The tortoise is vulnerable to a large number of diseases, so it is important to keep a healthy environment. Grass, sand and mud can serve as inferior layers, on which you can put the last layer of sand, grass and alfalfa.

The Indian Star Tortoise likes the subtropical climates. Whether you decide for an indoor or outdoor cage, you will need a temperature of 26-30 degrees Celsius. The tortoise does not have problems with temperatures of 35-40 degrees Celsius, but they need a place to hide. They are also resistant to cold for a short while, so you can keep the tortoise outside during the summer nights, or even in the autumn, when the temperature does not fall below 15-20 degrees Celsius. 

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