Distribution: Southern Madagascar
Habitat: Dry regions of brush, thorn bushes and woodlands
Description: Radiated Tortoises are the largest of the ‘star’ tortoises, so called because of the star pattern on their back. The shell, or ‘carapace’, is black with yellow or orange stars. Males have longer tails than females. This tortoise has yellow legs, feet and head except for a black patch on top of its head.
Diet: They are herbivores, feeding on grasses, fruit and succulent plants.
In the wild: After mating, females lay their eggs in a pre-excavated hole and then leave them alone. Juveniles are 3.2–4 cm upon hatching and are a white to an off-white shade. The juvenile’s carapace hardens and colours soon after hatching.
Threats: Radiated Tortoises are affected by loss of habitat and are used as a food source for ceremonial events. Their shells are also used as ornaments.
At Perth Zoo: Perth Zoo’s Radiated Tortoises are on display in the African Savannah.