Skip to main content

Cylindraspis Tortoises

Cylindraspis peltastes
There were five different Tortoise species within the Cylindraspis genus:
  • Cylindraspis indica - Réunion giant tortoise
  • Cylindraspis inepta - Saddle-backed Mauritius giant tortoise
  • Cylindraspis peltastes - Domed Rodrigues giant tortoise
  • Cylindraspis triserrata - Domed Mauritius giant tortoise
  • Cylindraspis vosmaeri - Saddle-backed Rodrigues giant tortoise
All five have been extinct for around 200 years.

The Cylindraspis Tortoises were once found on the Mascarene Islands of Rodrigues, Réunion, and Mauritius (home of the Dodo). This small group of islands is located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Madagascar. They were first discovered by Europeans in 1507, and were colonized around a century later. When humans arrived, the Tortoises were abundant across the island chain, but within 100 years they were almost completely wiped out. A few decades after that they were gone entirely.

How and why did this fast extinction happen? Well, it is a story very similar to that of one of their more famous island neighbors-- the Dodo. These Tortoises were very large, and very slow moving. This made them easy targets for hunting, much like the Dodo. The Tortoises also required very little food and maintenance, which made them ideal creatures to take on boats as a food supply.

Some of the species saw a decline faster than others (the Réunion Giant Tortoise was nearly gone by 1730, for example). Most were eliminated by 1800, with the last individuals dying out by 1840.

Sadly, the Cylindraspis Tortoises are not the only island turtles to be negatively affected by humans, and even the popular Galapagos Tortoises have faced extinction (some subspecies are gone entirely). Hopefully modern conservation measures and learning from the past can prevent more Tortoises from going the way of the today's animals.

IUCN Status : Extinct by 1840
Location : Mascarene Islands
Size : Varies
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Testudines
Family : Testudinidae -- Genus : †Cylindraspis


  1. Did you mean to say "Hopefully modern CONVERSATION measures and learning from the past can prevent more Tortoises from going the way of the today's animals?" :) ;)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a


For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!


The Binturong ( Arctictis binturong ) also has an equally awesome alternate common name, the Bearcat! However, it really isn't much of a bear OR a cat. While it is true that it is part of the Feliforma suborder, it is not a member of family Felidae. Binturongs are a part of their own family, Viverridae, which is shared with Civets, Linsangs, and Genets. There are six subspecies of Binturong, all of which have slight differences based upon location and habitat. Binturongs range in body size from 60-100cm in length, (not including their tail which has roughly the same length) and weigh between 20 and 30lbs. Binturongs are nocturnal animals native to the rain forests of South East Asia. The species range spans through several countries including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are tree dwelling mammals, and have fully prehensile tails that basically double their body length and can be used to cling to the trees or to grasp food. Binturongs are phe