Indian star tortoise

Prized for their beauty and believed to be associated with the Hindu god Vishnu

Jon Gudorf Photography

Indian star tortoise


Prized for their beauty and believed to be associated with the Hindu god Vishnu

Population >10,000
>30% decline over three generations

One of the most strikingly patterned tortoises, known for its star-like shell markings. This species is native to the dry and arid regions of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It inhabits a variety of environments, including scrub forests, grasslands, semi-desert areas, and agricultural fields. Its most distinguishing feature is its high-domed carapace, adorned with yellow star-like patterns radiating from the center of each dark scute. This striking pattern not only provides an effective camouflage in the dappled light of its habitat but also has made it a target for the illegal pet trade. The plastron, or the underside of the shell, is also yellow with black spots. The tortoise’s head, legs, and tail are covered in brown or yellowish scales, helping it blend into its surroundings.

The Indian Star Tortoise is primarily herbivorous, feeding on a diet of grasses, leaves, flowers, and fruits. In the wild, they are known to graze on various vegetation, providing them with the necessary nutrients and hydration. Their diet is highly fibrous, which is essential for their digestive health. In captivity, it is important to mimic this natural diet by providing a variety of leafy greens, vegetables, and occasional fruits to ensure their well-being. Access to clean water is also crucial, although these tortoises can derive much of their moisture from their food.

During the hottest part of the day, they seek shelter under vegetation or in burrows to avoid the heat. Their star-patterned shells provide excellent camouflage, helping them blend into the ground and avoid predators. These tortoises are also known for their slow and deliberate movements, which help them conserve energy in their often arid habitats. Despite their slow pace, they are surprisingly resilient and can cover significant distances in search of food and water.


Population est.
Sri Lanka

Anything we've missed?

Help us improve this page by suggesting edits. Glory never dies!

Suggest an edit

Get to know me

Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No