The Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) is a flat-shelled tortoise from southern Kenya and northern Tanzania in east Africa. It is a reptile – a chelonian.
The Pancake Tortoise has a brown carapace (upper shell) with geometric patterns and a pale-yellow plastron (lower shell). The top shell is not domed like other tortoises. It is flat, thin, and flexible. Its head, legs, and tail are brown.
It is a fast mover – faster than the larger, domed tortoises. It is a good climber, and can climb over rocky ground. For protection against predators, it hides in crevices and gaps in rocky areas.
It is a small tortoise, growing to about 18 centimetres (7 inches).
It lives in colonies in dry woodlands and savannahs.
The female Pancake Tortoise digs a nest in sandy soil. She usually lays one egg, which she incubates for 4-6 months. The young tortoises are independent as soon as they hatch.
It is most active in the morning or late afternoon. It feeds on dry grass and vegetation.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM