All about Indian & Burmese Star tortoises, Angulates, Golden Greeks... and more...
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Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatchling

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota)

I seem to like tortoises that are yellow or orangish in color and have shells marked with dots, dashes, or stripes. :O) This website highlights some of my favorite tortoise species, especially the Indian Star tortoise (Geochelone elegans), Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota), South African Angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata), and Golden Greek tortoise (typically Testudo graeca terrestris). I keep these species myself and to me they are all stars in the tortoise world!

I've also included a bit info about allergic tortoise keepers and the most commonly available pet tortoises. Popular tortoises in the U.S. include Greeks, Hermann's, Leopards, Redfoots, Russians, and Sulcatas.

Star tortoises

The Indian Star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) is a beautiful tortoise native to India, a small part of Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Thus, the Indian Star tortoise has three geographical variations: northern Indian Stars, southern Indian Stars, and Sri Lankan Stars. They all belong to the same species. However, the Burmese Star tortoise from Myanmar, formerly Burma, is a distinct species (Geochelone platynota).

Star tortoises were named for the attractive star like patterns on their shells. This pattern varies somewhat by the individual tortoise and its native location, especially among the Indian Star tortoises. Furthermore, some Indian Stars, mainly from Sri Lanka, may exhibit some "natural" pyramiding (bumpy shell). Although, this is still debatable. In most other tortoises, pyramiding is a sign of less than ideal captive care.

Star tortoises, especially Indian Stars (Geochelone elegans), may not be the most "outgoing" tortoises as pets, but they are sweet tempered and charming. :O)

In the wild, Star tortoises are endangered due to loss of habitat and illegal collecting. In fact, the Burmese Star tortoise is one of the most endangered tortoises in the world! Support their conservation and never obtain wild caught specimens as pets. Always buy captive bred Star tortoises.

Angulate tortoises

Angulate (Angulated) tortoises (Chersina angulata) are small, beautiful tortoises native to South Africa. They are sometimes called "fighting tortoises" due to the males' intensive desire to joust with each other. Their shells are decorated with dots and triangles. Some individuals are very colorful, while others are more plain brown. Due to their reputation and history of being problematic to keep, they are not common in captive collections. Captive bred babies are difficult to find.

Golden Greek tortoises

Golden Greek (Testudo graeca ssp) tortoises have become more common as pets in recent years. No wonder, they have beautiful coloring and are easy to keep due their small size. Some Golden Greeks are golden yellow as their name implies, but others are more beige or brownish in color. Many Goldens are almost patternless, while others have "domino dots" or even more traditional Greek shell markings. Their beautiful looks and fantastic "outgoing" (less timid) personalities have made them popular.

Allergic tortoise keepers

Parts of this web site are written from an allergic tortoise owner's point of view. There are certain aspects to tortoise keeping that are frequently problematic for allergic and asthmatic tortoise hobbyists. For example, finding a suitable, allergen free indoor substrate is a major obstacle. Tortoises themselves are seldom, if ever, the cause of allergic reactions.

Tortoise owners who have no allergies are often not aware of the problems severely allergic and asthmatic tortoise keepers face. I have not found any books or web sites geared towards allergic tortoise owners. So, I created this site, in part, to share my personal experiences as a tortoise keeper with allergies.

Detailed info

Many new tortoise keepers find typical caresheets way too vague, so I have gone into more detail on Star tortoise care and useful supplies. The info provided here should answer most questions a new Star tortoise owner might have. With few exceptions, most of the Star care info applies to other small tortoise species native to dry, grassy areas as well.

Burmese Star tortoise, Geochelone platynota

Burmese Star tortoise

Work in progress

Some of the content on this website may not match exactly how I care for and house my tortoises today. I tend to make small tweaks here and there as time goes on. There's always so much more to learn about tortoises!

This website is continuously evolving and is a work in progress. I try to update parts of it when I notice something is getting outdated, but there’s no guarantee that I will catch them all. :O)

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll enjoy your visit!


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