Pancake Tortoise

Ranging in area from Kenya to Tanzania, the Pancake Tortoise inhabits rocky hills and arid dry areas such as the savannah.

The Pancake tortoise is a very small flat tortoise that has a flexible and somewhat thin shell. It is usually about 7 or 8 inches long, while the legs feature scales that point down and out. The shell is distinct in that it has lines that radiate from the upper part of the shell, called the carapace.

The males are able to be distinguished from the females by viewing the tail, which will be longer and thicker than the female, however the male will usually be smaller than the females in size.

Pancake tortoises are unique in that they will usually live in colonies, sharing the same living area without many actual arguments over it. During the breeding season, which is the early part of the year, January and February, they will fight for mating rights however.

Pancake Tortoise
Pancake Tortoise

Pancake tortoises live in colonies but the colonies are usually isolated from each other. Within one habitat they coexist and many individuals may share the same crevice amicably. Males may fight during the breeding season in January and February.

The pancake tortoise is well suited to its life in the arid desert like areas, fitting well into very tight areas such as under rocks or in small crevices, it shell being so flexible that it will actually move when the animal takes in a breath.

It is very speedy compared to other tortoises with the lower weight of its shell helping it to move more rapidly.

Pancake Tortoises breed in January, and will nest and lay eggs many months later, in July or August. The eggs are laid in the ground, and must incubate for about 4 months, staying at a certain temperature for the entire time in order to hatch. Pancake Tortoises can live to be about 25 years old.

Find out more about the Pancake Tortoise over at Wikipedia »

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