Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Cousin: The Radiated Tortoise

Radiated Tortoises live naturally only in the extreme south and southwestern part of the island of Madagascar. They prefer dry regions of brush and thorny woodlands of the island.

They grow up to 16 inches and weigh up to 35 pounds, and is considered to be one of the world's most beautiful tortoises. This basic "tortoise" body shape consists of a high-dome, a blunt head and elephantine feet. The legs, feet, and head are yellow except for a black patch on top of the head. The shell (carapace) of the radiated tortoise is brilliantly marked with yellow lines radiating from the center of each dark plate of the shell, hence its name. This "star" pattern is more finely detailed.


The radiated tortoise is a grazing herbivore. They feed during the day mostly on grasses, fruit and succulent plants. Their grazing habits keep vegetation closely trimmed.

Radiated tortoises may live as long as 40 to 50 years. Sadly, these handsome tortoises are severely endangered due to loss of habitat, being poached for food, and being over exploited in the pet trade.


1 comment:

  1. I could macrame a nice woven, elastic edged, amber colored, mesh-type covering for Hank to look much like his cousins...ya know...for Halloween or the Holidays!

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