Native to the forests of Myanmar, Burma, and the Burmese star tortoise is scientifically known as Geochelone playton. It belongs to the family of Testudinidae. It gets its name from its beautiful carapace with prominent star-like radiant patterns.
This star of yellow lines crosses over the dark brown or black carapace that is highly domed. Although for some time it was considered the same as the more common Indian star tortoise, however later it was separated as a different species. The two differ greatly in their appearances of plastrons.
Burmese Star Tortoise Facts and Information
One of the many interesting facts about this tortoise species is that they don’t hibernate. Even though, natively they belong to the dry forests of South Asia they do not resist extreme temperature variations.
Their hard-shelled carapace has bumps where the yellow lines intersect to create stars. Their size is quite impressive. The female adults generally get bigger than males, reaching a 14 inches carapace length. Their heads are large and has yellow or tanned shades.
There is not enough research on its lifespan to suggest an exact number, but they are considered to a be tortoise with a long life. With proper care in captivity, you can ensure a long age.
Burmese Star Tortoise Diet
Burmese star tortoises can be considered herbivores by nature as they most commonly feed on big and coarse leaves. Succulents, weeds, thistle are some of its favorite foods. They usually like to chew on bigger leaves and greens rather than tiny grasses or weed.
Burmese Star Tortoise Natural habitat
The Burmese star tortoise loves to dwell in dry pastures and forests. These have also been found living in undercut banks, bamboo thickets, and thorn scrub along with forests with deciduous trees and vegetation that survives in dry climates.
Burmese Star Tortoise Breeding
Male tortoises mature sexually before females. The breeding season lasts from October until February generally in the rainy monsoon season.
Eggs are laid after 90 to 120 days after the Burmese star tortoise mates. There may be multiple clutches which are usually deposited in intervals of 30 to 50 days. In captivity, the eggs are kept at a cool temperature and incubated at room temperature.
After 30 days, the eggs are kept in a cooler environment and are sometimes sprinkled with or kept in water. Burmese tortoise eggs take around 90 days to hatch.
Burmese Star Tortoise Predators
These tortoises are a very critically endangered species. Humans can be considered their biggest predators as they are eaten in Burma and is available in Chinese food markets. Efforts are currently being made to breed these tortoises to bring them back from potential extinction.
Currently these are listed as critically endangered by IUCN. Many breeding programs have even sent the captive tortoises back to their natural habitat.
The food markets, poachers and illegal pet traders are the biggest threats to this species. Their native land, Myanmar, provides no legal permits for their exportation either, but they are smuggled often.
The rarity along with the eye-catching appearance of the Burmese star tortoise has caused a demand for them. In 2004, a breeding program started with only 400-star tortoises which as of 2017 has increased its population to 14000.
When it comes to diet, they are herbivores and should be provided a fully vegetarian diet. In the wild, they consume insects, but animal food is considered a complete no-no for them.
The most important thing to keep in mind is variations! These tortoises need a number of greens to get all the goods. Anything from succulents, flowers, weeds, leaves or market foods will do. To mimic their natural diet, you may feed them dry leaves like hay.
These tortoises can get quite tall; therefore; their pens should be tall enough to support their growth. With 20 to 24 inches tall pens, you must make sure to keep it capped otherwise the tortoise can climb out.
Lighting and heat can be provided by UVB lights. They usually come out for taking feed and basking. You can check out our review of the best uvb bulbs for turtles for more information.
Star Tortoise Overview Video (Indian Star vs Burmese Star Tortoise)
While they are on the endangered list, some people still have them as pets. Check your local laws before getting one, and if you do, make sure to care for it diligently.
Have you seen one or do you have one yourself? Let us know in the comments below!