Pancake Tortoise

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.

Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise

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.

Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise

 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

 

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