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Did you know?

In the rain Radiated Tortoises will raise their bodies up high and wiggle. This is known as the rain dance

Quick Facts

Weight: up to 16kgs

Size: body length 30-40cm

Number of offspring: 3-12 eggs, up to 3 clutches per season

Gestation: 4.5-5.5 months

Maturity: based on size not age, 26cm+

Lifespan: 40-50yrs

Predators: Golden eagles, ravens, badgers, kit fox and coyotes

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Radiated tortoise

Astrochelys radiata

Habitat

Found in low irregular rainfall areas of dry spiny forests, thorn bushes and woodlands

Natural behavior

Diurnal and ground dwelling, typically become active in the morning, warming up in the sun and find grazing grounds, often returning to the same grazing grounds. During the hottest part of the day animals retreat into the shade to prevent overheating. When threated Radiated Tortoise will emit a loud screeching sound and pull in their soft limbs to avoid damage

Description

The carapace or shell is high-domed, black and patterned with yellow-orange stars. Legs, feet and head are yellow with an irregular black patch found on the top of the head

Distribution

Southern and South Western Madagascar

Diet

Herbivore; predominately feeding on grasses but also succulent plants and fruit

Reproduction

Breeding season is from February to April. Males display interest in females by head bobbing and smelling the female undertaking a relentless pursuit, mounting and noisy copulation. Males may become aggressive and combat each other during the breeding season in competition for females. 3-12 eggs are laid in a pre-excavated hole and left to fend for themselves once laid.

Social structure

Lives a solitary lifestyle, although not uncommon for individuals to congregate in favorable grazing grounds

Threats

Habitat loss due to deforestation for agricultural land use and grazing for livestock and charcoal production. Illegal pet trade, hunted for food used in ceremonial events and shells used for ornaments