Pancake Tortoise


ANIMAL:                                  Pancake Tortoise     Malacochersus tornieri
Type of Animal: Tortoise
Habitat: Rocky areas(especially those w/ rocky outcroppings known as kopjes) in scrubland, scrub brush, savanna, semi-desert, Acacia-Commiphora bushland, & Brachystegia woodland, found from 100-6,000 ft above sea level
Location(s): Native to S Kenya & N & E Tanzania, introduced population in Zimbabwe
Appearance: Named for thin flat flexible shell, brown top shell (carapace) w/ variable pattern of radiating dark lines, bottom shell (plastron) pale yellow w/ dark brown seams & light yellow rays, head, limbs, & tail yellow-brown, males have longer thicker tails, males have darker patterns on carapace, juveniles pale yellow more domed carapace w/ black seams & light yellow rays
Food/Diet: Grasses, fruit, greens, flowers, leaves, vegetables, succulents (especially aloe), seeds, weeds, legumes, berries, melons
Status in Wild: Threatened
Conservation: Breeding from zoos, wildlife parks & breeding centers
Lifestyle: Found in groups of up to 10 individuals
Additional Info:
Males: Females: Young: Group:
Called: Male Female Hatchling Colony
Weight: 12 oz 15-16 oz 1.6 oz Gestation:


Life Span:

4-6 months
Height: 1 in 1.5 in
Body Length: 6 in 7 in 1.67 in 25 years
Tail Length: 2 in 1 in
Main predators are mongooses, wild dogs, hyenas, feral/domestic dogs, leopards, lions, badgers, servals, & caracals.
Male competition helps w/ breeding success.
Lighter flexible shell doesn’t provide much protection, so often found lodged among rocks & crevices.
Usually only emerge from shelter for an hour at a time, mainly being active in morning, late afternoon, & early evening.
Breeds in January & February in wild, w/ females laying 1-2 eggs per clutch & she releases up to 4 eggs a season.
Threatened due to pet trade, habitat destruction, conversion to agricultural land, & overgrazing by livestock.
Due to dry climate, they get most moisture from food they eat.
In their rocky areas, lizards often share their homes w/ the tortoises.
They tend to have a low reproductive rate-another reason they’re threatened.
Fun Fact(s): When it gets very hot, they will estivate (hibernation during hot weather).
When threatened, it will run to a crevice & use legs to lodge itself as deeply inside as possible to prevent predator from getting it out.
One of fastest tortoises in world, running as fast as a kilometer an hour.

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