Indian star tortoise: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) belongs to the...

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The Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) belongs to the group of tortoises, just like the northern black tortoise, Hermann's tortoise or the Russian tortoise. These wonderful and curious turtles have a very particular characteristic in their shell, which in addition to being colorful, seems to be full of yellow stars on a black background, which earned them their name. Want to know more about the Indian star tortoise? At PlanèteAnimal we will tell you about its origin, its characteristics and its reproduction among many other curiosities about it.

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  • Asia
  • India
  • Pakistan

Physical characteristics of the Indian star tortoise

The physical appearance of a star tortoise refers to that of a land tortoise approximately 25 centimeters in total length, with specimens reaching up to 35 centimeters. Their weight generally varies between 5 and 7 kilograms. There is a strong sexual dimorphism, because females can reach 35 centimeters in length and 7 kilograms, while the maximum in males is 20 centimeters for 6 kilograms.

" The size also depends on their genetic line, because there are 3 different ones: the so-called North Star tortoise, which is the largest, those from Sri Lanka, of medium size and those from southern India, the latter being the smallest. All share the following characteristics: they are equipped with 5 claws and a shell.These characteristics are unique and specific to this animal, which is why we will detail later in our article."

The shell of these turtles is really fascinating, because in addition to being clearly convex, divided into pyramidal shields, it has a very beautiful pattern. The background is jet black, culminating in a pattern of yellow radial stripes, with the epicenter at the most pointed end of each of the shields, making them look like stars. These stars are made up of a total of 6 to 12 stripes, following this pattern up to the breastplate.

Habitat of the Indian star tortoise

In the wild, these tortoises are scattered all over India, and as we have seen, there are three varieties typical of each region of the country, mostly varying in size. They are not only present in the lower Bengal region, but also in Pakistan and Ceylon. The habitat of the star tortoise is varied, as it is able to adapt to different environments, but the most common are grasslands and forests with alternating periods of drought and torrential rains.It should be noted, however, that some star tortoise populations have settled in regions with semi-arid climates with notable success.

Reproduction of the Indian star tortoise

Like other turtles, they are oviparous animals, that is, they reproduce by laying eggs. As they are tortoises, they usually lay their eggs in holes dug in the ground by the females. Females are sexually mature at an age between 7 and 13 years old, while males are from 8 years old.

This species reproduces between June and September, laying between 2 and 8 eggs, the incubation of which lasts between 110 and 180 days. When laying eggs, females are protective of their offspring and may behave aggressively in defense. In total, there are usually between 2 and 4 broods during the entire breeding period.

As with other turtles, the sex of the young is often determined by climatic conditions, with females more likely to be born when temperatures are high and males when temperatures are low, but if temperatures drop too much low, they may die before hatching.

Indian Star Tortoise Diet

These turtles are herbivorous reptiles, so their diet is based on foods of plant origin. Their diet usually consists of tree and shrub leaves, flowers, and fruits typical of the habitats where they live. The diet of land tortoises, such as the Indian star tortoise, exhibits a crepuscular feeding pattern, with food consumption being greatest at two times of the day, dawn and dusk, when temperatures are less extreme.

If they live in captivity, they must be provided with fresh vegetables daily, so that their diet is rich in fiber and minerals such as calcium, both essential for their he alth. On the other hand, protein levels should be as low as possible, as high protein levels are associated with growth disturbances and disorders such as shell malformations.

The Indian star tortoise as a pet

It's a fascinating turtle, with a surprising and exotic appearance. It can make us want to have one in our home, to be able to admire this beauty on a daily basis and enjoy its company. However, before taking one of these turtles as a pet, you must take into account a series of requirements, since they are quite difficult to keep in captivity.

To start, it is necessary to have a large enclosure in which the humidity is controlled and kept low, because they do not support it well and the temperature must be warm, because the cold makes them sick. Thus, the minimum temperature of their habitat must be at least 24ºC. They do not adapt well to terrariums, which must be taken into account, as this would leave them with little space for their habitat.

Also, UVB and UVA lamps are needed so they get daily light and heating to keep the temperature from dropping, which is a big investment for their enclosure if we don't already have one A.Finally, this enclosure should also have a place with water for them to immerse themselves in and shaded areas, as well as a source of clean water to drink from and a bed of shavings or straw.

If our turtle refuses to eat, it is probably suffering from problems adapting to its new home, this can be solved with a little patience, by getting used to it, but there are cases where this behavior persists , putting his he alth at stake. In this case, it is best to consult an expert turtle veterinarian, as he will be able to assess the situation and tell us what action to take.

In any case, the Indian star tortoise is an animal that is in a vulnerable state according to the IUCN. We must therefore be very careful not to encourage illegal cash trafficking or irresponsible possession. It is important to check if it is legal to bring this animal into our country and to discuss with the veterinarian beforehand the steps to follow so that the adoption can be done without any problems, talk about maintenance and other care needed by the star tortoise.

Pictures of Indian Star Tortoise

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