Geochelone Elegans, also known as The Indian Star Tortoise is a medium sized species which is found in dry areas and scrub forest in India and Sri Lanka. As the name suggests, Geochelone Elegans have star like patterns on its carapace. Its high doomed shell is made up of natural “pyramids”. The combination of black and yellow radiating lines on the carapace makes Indian Star Tortoiseone of the most beautiful tortoises in the world. The star-pattern is also seen on the plastron. The beauty makes this species of tortoise popular pet in the world’s exotic pet trade. The shell not only adds to the beauty factor but also provides protection to the vulnerable head and limbs.Geochelone Elegans is one of those few species in which the female is larger than the males and their length could stretch up to 10 inches and their carapace can also be much broader than the males. Males, in contrast, have a slimmer, smoother carapace. The size depends on the sex, gender and native location.Adult tortoises are calm and peaceful and walk at a slow pace. They are neither aggressive toward each other nor towards the environment. They neither dig nor burrow. They are not very good climbers and even small hurdles give them a tough time, thus they feed on things found on ground. They are shy and can be sensitive to stress. The Indian Star Tortoise is a friendly lot and does well in small groups of its own kind. Their life span varies from 30 to 80 years. They are mostly active during the day time and their activity rate increases during rainy season.
The Indian Star Tortoise Habitat
Hot and humid climate is their preference and the perfect set up remains outdoors. For housing one to four tortoise, 6 feet long by 6 feet wide cage is good enough. As they cannot climb easily, a foot high wall made of black or wood will do fine. A segment of the pen can be planted with grass or alfalfa for the tortoise to munch. Females lay eggs after digging the dirt so bare ground is required too for breeding. The finest temperature for star tortoise is between 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold and wet arena is not healthy for Geochelone Elegans and can prove deadly, thus moisture level should be kept low and temperature should be high. Exposure to sunlight is also essential as it helps the tortoise to absorb and use calcium. UVB light can be used as an alternative.
The Indian Star Tortoise Diet
These tortoises are mostly herbivorous and 100% herbivorous diet is suggested for captives. Variety of grasses like Bermuda grass, rye, blue grass etc, flowers, especially Dandelions and hibiscus, make a suitable diet for them. Babies should be fed upon mix of leafy greens as eating the more tough grass becomes difficult. Vegetables could also be made a part of their diet but fruits are to be avoided. Feeding them just the right amount is also important as over eating may lead in overweight and unhealthy life.