Pancake Tortoise

Pancake Tortoise

Malacochersus tornieri

About This Animal

SIZE: 6 - 7 inches long

RANGE: This East African species is native to southern Kenya and northern and western Tanzania

HABITAT: Rocky hills and slopes with rocky outcrops in arid savanna and scrub areas at altitudes from 100 to 6,000 feet

DIET: A variety of fresh and dry grasses, and some fruit

ON EXHIBIT: Turtle Gallery in River Journey

The pancake tortoise has an unusually thin, flat, flexible shell. While the shell bones of most other tortoises are solid, the pancake tortoise has shell bones with many openings, making it lighter and more agile than other tortoises.

The greatest threats facing the pancake tortoise are habitat destruction and its over-exploitation by the pet trade. Given the low reproductive rate of this tortoise, populations that have been harvested may take a long time to recover.