Thursday, April 24, 2014

Indian Star Tortoise

Geochelone elegans
It doesn't require a huge imagination to figure out where the name "Star Tortoise" comes from. These reptiles have carapaces that are predominantly dark with a lighter, starburst-type pattern.

You'll find these fancy Turtles in the drier regions of India, including scrub forests, semi-deserts, and arid grasslands. They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours, when they spend time foraging for flowers, grasses, and leaves.

During mating season, which coincides with the rainy season, males will fight one another for mates. During these matches they will shove back and forth and attempt to flip their rival over on to his back. The last one literally standing wins. After mating, the females will dig a hole and lay her eggs-- each season she can produce up to 10 clutches of up to a dozen eggs each. Those eggs can take anywhere from 1.5 to 6 months to hatch (depends on the weather conditions) and the young Tortoises are totally on their own from the start.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : India
Size : Length around 10in (25cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Sauropsida -- Order : Testudines
Family : Testudinidae -- Genus : Geochelone -- Species : G. elegans
Image :  CBurnett

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