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Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata)

Description of Radiated Tortoises

Widely considered one of the most beautiful tortoises out there, the radiated tortoise is a relatively large reptile that can grow up to about 16 inches in length and 35 pounds in height. They've got your standard, recognizable tortoise shape complete with a stubby head and large, blunt, elephant-like feet. But for a big black patch on the top of their head (which almost looks like Elvis Presley's hair if you're creative), their head, feet and legs are a golden shade of yellow. Their beauty makes them a popular pick among pet owners.

Radiated Tortoise

Radiated Tortoise Habitat

Radiated tortoises naturally live almost exclusively in the southern part of the island of Madagascar, where they stick to dry woodlands, forests and brush. Almost the entire radiated tortoise population lives in an area of about six thousand square miles, with only small isolated populations outside this area. It is estimated that the radiated tortoise has disappeared in almost half of its historical range because of a variety of factors, including habitat loss.

They thrive in areas with lots of fresh air and natural sunlight, so they should be kept in places where they will have regular access to the outdoors.

Radiated Tortoise Diet

Like other grazing herbivores, they eat mostly plants like fruit and grasses, which make up around 85 percent of their diet. In the wild, they tend to regularly graze the same areas, keeping the plants in that area trimmed very closely, and prefer newer growth to older growth due to its nourishing, high protein content.

This means that the radiated tortoise should eat a varied diet to maintain optimum health, including flower blossoms, weeds, grasses, and greens. Commercial foods combined with carefully selected fruit can help keep your tortoise healthy and happy!

Radiated Tortoise Reproduction

These tortoises can breed when they're about half their full size. The males, ever the charmers, nod their heads down and up to court their love interests. After mating, females will dig nests and lay about five eggs, which can incubate anywhere from four to seven months before hatching. Most radiated tortoises live about 45 years, but some have lived to be 100!

Radiated Tortoise Care

These tortoises have wonderful personalities, so they make great pets, but keep in mind their lifespan when you adopt one-- they are a commitment!

Three or four hatch lings can live in a two-foot by three-foot enclosure, but an adult needs at least ten by fifteen feet (which will work well for two or three tortoises). The walls of their enclosure should be at least ten inches tall to keep them safe, and many tortoise owners find that enclosures made of wood or another softer material work better than brick or cement, which may scratch their beautiful shells.

Make sure to include a shelter that will allow them to escape poor weather conditions and to hide if they are anxious. Make sure the shelter is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside of, and that it is always warm and dry. Daytime temperatures between seventy and ninety-five are ideal, and if it gets below fifty-five degrees at night, a heat source should be provided.

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