Elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongate) – Endangered
Based in the Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve this project aims to identify the home range and habitat usage of the elongated tortoise via radio telemetry tracking. Each tortoise has a transmitter attached to their shell so that they can be found each day in order to gain an understanding of their foraging, shelter sites and behaviour. Although widespread across South East Asia very little is known about this species. If you look them up on the IUCN website most sections have been left blank. The main threats to these tortoises are from the Asian food market and the illegal pet and medicinal trade.
To keep up to date with tortoise shenanigans please hop over to their blog at Sakaerat tortoise telemetry project
What is an Elongated Tortoise?
Unfortunately due to the lack of research on this species I was unable to find a reliable distribution map but they apparently occur Southern and South-East Asia
- They are found in such countries as Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.
- As its name suggests this tortoise has a more elongated body than other species, particularly the males. Females are much more rounded than the males.
- Unlike other species of tortoise they have a very tall walk, they are quite high from the ground as they strut their stuff.
- Tortoises have scutes, which are plates or scales that cover the bony shell, they’re made of keratin. This particular tortoise has an additional scute above the head known as the nucal scute and this identifies them from other species.
- During the breeding season the ears, eyes and nose of these males become pink.
- Unlike other tortoises the elongated have a very generalist diet and even eat meat and carrion.
- These tortoises engage in quite aggressive courtship behaviours including biting of the legs.
- There is a massive difference in shell colouration between individuals from almost plain yellow to yellow with a variety of dark coloured blotches to almost completely black.