One of the long-lived species of tortoises with major habitat native to southern Madagascar, this tortoise with a scientific name of “Astrochelys radiata,” is currently declared as a critically endangered species. It is also known to be found in the islands of Mauritius and Reunion. The beautifully designed structure of its carapace makes it one of the most-demanded pets. It has a high resemblance to the Indian star tortoise.
The fact behind its name
These tortoises are named radiated, because of its shell structure that is beautifully lined with yellow lines. If you have ever studied science with interest, nowhere, I really mean when I say interest, you would have an idea that radiation is any kind of energy that comes from a source, it can be in the form of light. When you see this tortoise at a first glance, you feel yellow light-like radiations coming out of it.
Radiated tortoise classification
Let’s have a look at its classification:
|Scientific Name||Astrochelys radiata|
|Lifespan||Up to 188 years|
|Incubation period||145 to 231 days.|
Radiated tortoise physical appearance
I have already given an idea about how beautifully its structure is carved by God. Now, let’s dig some details about its look. You would be really amazed to see this tortoise if you ever had the experience to see it in real life. This tortoise has a very noticeable high-dome. Its feet resemble the elephant ones. Lines on its carapace are brilliantly marked such that each of these lines radiates outwards from the middle of each scute.
Radiated tortoises male and female
Radiated tortoise’s male and female are not identical, and thus have slight differences in their physical appearance. Males tortoises have longer tails than the female tortoise, also male tortoises have noticeable notches under their tales.
How big do Radiated tortoises get?
Radiated tortoise size is a point of interest for many people. They are not very giant nor too small but are medium-sized tortoises. Their carapace surface is really long, and on average has a length of up to 16 inches that makes up 41 cm.
Radiated tortoise weight
These tortoises are usually round, and by looking at them you can guess its weight. According to biologists, who have worked on this tortoise, this tortoise has an average weight of 35 lb. That makes up 16 kg with hatchling weighing even less than this.
Radiated tortoise diet
Being herbivorous In nature, these tortoises mainly eat grasses, vegetables, fruits, and flowers. 80 to 90 percent of the diet is constituted by grazing. It is believed that these tortoises in the wild have the most favorite dish known as Opuntia cactus.
What to feed your Radiated tortoise?
If you have acquired this tortoise as a pet, then note down the points if you don’t have any idea of what to feed this tortoise. At several zoos these tortoises are provided with a variety of food components, some of them consisting of turtle pellets, leafy greens, flower blossoms, and weeds.
Radiated tortoise lifespan
These species are supposed to live a very long life mostly more than 50 years. It is believed that these tortoises can even live for more than 100 years. The most longest-lived tortoise of this species has been recorded to have died at the age of 188. According to some resources, another tortoise with the name Adwaita also lived even more than the tortoise I just mentioned.
Radiated tortoise habitat
These species are native to the island of Madagascar, where they prefer to live in the dry regions of forests and woodlands. These tortoises mostly stay active during the daytime. A pile of tortoises grazes on the same vegetations each day. They are solitary in nature, and mostly calm, but whenever they are stalked by a predator they become aggressive and scream in a very high pitch to aware the companions of the presence of predators.
Radiated tortoise facts
- They are one of the world’s rarely found tortoises.
- Sokake is another word used for this tortoise.
- Radiated tortoise adaptations include surviving from predators by loud scream, and putting their heads inside their shells.
- One interesting fact is that they dance in the rain.
- Tu’i Malila is the longest-lived specimen of this tortoise i.e. up to 188 years.
- It is resistant to too cold temperatures.
Radiated tortoise mating
Their mating session is very exciting. They may adopt either polyandrous or polygynous behavior of mating. Male tortoise follows female tortoise and tries to chase it. Often with its shell, it tries to roll the female over and stops it from moving away. If accidentally, two male tortoises confront each other while mating, then the situation can be very serious, and can turn into a fighting battle.
After the mating season is done, females are ready to lay down eggs, but just before it, they need to dig burrows underground where they can lay their eggs for the incubation period to be started. The incubation period generally lasts longer than 145 days and ends after 231 days.
Radiated tortoise baby
During the incubation period, the tortoise can be guessed by the temperature at which eggs are being incubated. Mostly at high temperatures, more males are likely to be born. Per clutch, 3 to 12 eggs are laid. After the incubation period is completed, babies come out of their eggshells. Born hatchlings are 3 to 4 cm long.
Radiated tortoise as a pet
These tortoises are not easy-to-keep pets. They possess a very sharp sense of touch and thus feel every touch over its shell and carapace. Thus you need to be very calm while keeping it as a pet. Besides this, the price of this tortoise also matters. How much does a radiated tortoise cost? These tortoises generally range from $1500 to $3500. As I already said, due to their beautiful look, they possess a very high demand in the market, thus leading to high prices.
Are radiated tortoise poisonous?
These tortoises can carry several diseases that can even harm the human handling of these tortoises. Thus, they can be poisonous in this sense, but this is not the common case.
Radiated tortoise care
Choosing the right size of the enclosure is very important as it determines how it behaves. Confined enclosures make them aggressive. Thus 2 to 3-foot enclosure would be enough for a single tortoise. If you carefully design the environment, it would come out as a great family pet. These tortoises are adapted to the sunlight, and thus it’s difficult for them to survive in indoor captivity. Prefer them to keep outdoors most of the day. Make sure the walls of the enclosure are covered from each side even from the top to make your pet safe from predators.
Radiated tortoise temperature
They are resistant to very low, and very high temperatures. The temperature inside the enclosure should remain between 70 and 95 degrees. Heat acquired by them in the daylight is dissipated after the sunset. At night, the temperature should not drop under 55 degrees, if it does, then light should be used to provide them sufficient heat.
Why are radiated tortoises endangered?
These tortoises are declared critically endangered, and there are many severe factors behind its population decline. Let me name some, habitat loss, illegal pet trade, conversion of land, hunting, degradation of land, and road are major threats to this tortoise. Many breeding programs are currently working to increase this species population.
How many radiated tortoises are left in the world?
In earlier 2000, its population was estimated to be about 12 million which was then declined by 47 percent until 2013, after that it was estimated that 6.3 million of tortoises existed. At present, it is believed that only some thousands of these tortoises are now left. However, 332 tortoises are being used by several breeding programs for the betterment of its status.