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Elongated Tortoise

East Asia

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Indotestudo elongata

Endangered

  • Poaching
  • High demand to the black market
  • Habitat loss due to man-made settlements and agricultural activities

The Elongated Tortoise is also called Yellow Tortoise because of its shell coloration. This endangered reptile species can be found in the warm tropical forests of Southeast Asia and in some areas in North-eastern India. It prefers to spend its day buried under piles of leaves or resting at bases of plants, avoiding direct sunlight as much as possible.

Its shell has a measurement that has twice the length than its depth, giving it a distinct visual depression but its vertebral section is flat. In young tortoises, the anterior and posterior margins are serrated while there are concentric striations on the shields – all characteristics which diminish with old age. It feeds mainly on a wide range of vegetation and edible leaves but its food diet can also include snails and eggs. As it is not a seasonal breeder, it can lay eggs any time of the year. An attractive pink colour is noticeable on the nostrils of the males during breeding season.

Habitat destruction and poaching are two main causes for its road to complete extinction. Forest habitats are destroyed to make way for agricultural purposes, human settlements, and development activities. Hunters are also relentless in taking its eggs for consumption as well as using its meat to be sold as an aphrodisiac in local and international black markets. The Elongated Tortoise is also believed favored by pet collectors. However, it is not ideally suited for cold climate conditions because it cannot control its body temperature.