Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Cousin - The Egyptian Tortoise

The Egyptian Tortoise (also known as the Kleinmann's Tortoise), is a critically endangered, neck-hiding tortoise with its numbers now dwindling. The Egyptian Tortoise is one hard-core turtle, living in deserts and semi-arid habitats, usually with compact sand and gravel plains, scattered rocks, shallow, dry woodlands, shrubby areas and coastal salt marsh habitats. They are least active when it is very cold or very hot. During the colder months, they are out most during midday. During the warm season, they are active in the morning and evening. The rest of the day is spent under brushes or in rodent burrows. They become sexually mature between 10-20 years old.

The female tortoises are larger than the males; males are more slender and have a longer tail. Their shells have high domes, and range in color from ivory to pale gold to dark brown or dull yellow, which helps regulate the impact of sunlight and its stay in the desert heat. It's shell is an effective camouflage in the desert.

The species is extinct in Egypt, and global extinction is a looming threat unless more actions are taken to protect this species. Habitat loss and illegal pet trade are huge issues facing this species and while their population is still on the decline, the risk of complete extinction is very real if habitat degradation and illegal trade continue at their present rate.

1 comment:

  1. Nice cousin there, Hank! Let's keep them around.

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