This website highlights my favorite tortoise species: the Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota), the Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans), the South African angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata), and the golden Greek tortoise (typically Testudo graeca terrestris). I keep these species myself and to me they are all stars of the tortoise world. :O)
In 2008, when I first created this website, Burmese star tortoises were still rather uncommon in US collections. Since then the popularity of this species, which is critically endangered in the wild, has increased dramatically. Keepers have had great success with this enjoyable, hardy species and captive-bred babies are now easy to find. Burmese stars are my favorite tortoises and I highly recommend them to any tortoise keeper who has the space and weather conditions to keep this medium-sized tropical tortoise.
About keeping rare species: "I also think we need to create programs to encourage the general public to get involved in keeping threatened species. The general public spends several hundred millions dollars annually to keep common turtles like red-eared sliders as pets. Just think if all that money could be applied to keeping rarer, less disposable species."
Philippe de Vosjoli, Reptile Times, Dec 2012
Star tortoises are gorgeous tortoises named after the attractive star-like patterns on their shells. This pattern differs between species and also varies somewhat among the individual tortoises.
The Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) is native to India, a small part of Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Thus, the Indian star tortoise has three geographical variants: northern Indian stars, southern Indian stars, and Sri Lankan stars. Indian stars may not be the most "outgoing" tortoises as pets, but they are sweet tempered and charming.
The Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) from Myanmar, formerly Burma, is a distinct species. They are friendly tortoises and tend to be less timid than the Indians stars.
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. Never obtain wild-caught star specimens as pets. Always buy captive-bred tortoises.
Young Burmese star tortoise showing his beautiful colors. Just look at that cute face those and lovely eyes. :O)
The angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata), aka bowsprit tortoise, is a small, beautiful species native to South Africa. Angulates are sometimes called "fighting tortoises" due to the males' intensive desire to joust with each other. Their dark shells are decorated with dots and triangles. Many individuals are very colorful, while a few are more plain brown.
Due to their reputation and history of being problematic to keep and reproduce, angulates are not common in captive collections outside their native land. Captive-bred babies are difficult to find, but in the last few years there has been an increased interest in this species among tortoise keepers.
The golden Greek tortoise is one of the more popular varieties of the Greek tortoises. No wonder, many goldens have lovely coloring, delightful personalities, and are easier to keep due their small size. Many goldens are almost patternless, while others have "domino dots" or even more traditional Greek tortoise shell markings. Their beautiful looks and their fantastic, less timid personalities have made them well liked.
It’s important to note that the golden Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca ssp) is NOT a species of its own. Rather, the name refers to ANY yellow colored Greek tortoise regardless of its the species or subspecies. Most goldens tend belong to the Testudo graeca terrestris group, but even individuals of this subspecies vary greatly in color. Some are light and yellow, while others are very dark and not yellow at all.
This website is continuously evolving and is a work in progress. Some of the content may not match exactly how I care for and house my tortoises today. I make small tweaks here and there in my tortoise care as time goes on. There's always so much more to learn about tortoises.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll enjoy your visit. :0)
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