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Elongated Tortoise

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Species group:

Other common names: Yellow-headed Tortoise; Red-nosed Tortoise

Scientific name: Indotestudo elongata

The basics:
The Elongated Tortoise comes from the Southeast Asian tropical forests. They will venture into sunny dry areas for basking. The IUCN lists the Elongated Tortoise as endangered due to capture for the pet trade and for food.

Appearance / health:
The Elongated Tortoise has a subtle beauty with its creamy colored head and light shell with what looks like dark ink blotches in each scute. Their plastron is also yellow with dark spots. They are aptly named after their long oval shaped and flattened shell. During breeding season they will get pink to red markings around the eyes and nose. They have a horn tipped tail.

AVERAGE ADULT WEIGHT: up to 3 lbs

AVERAGE ADULT SIZE: up to 13 inches

Behavior / temperament:
This is an enjoyable tortoise that is pleasant to have as a pet.

Housing:
The special care needs of the Elongated Tortoise make housing this species rather complicated. This tortoise species is not for the pet owner seeking an easy to care for pet. Due to their temperature and humidity requirements they will most likely need to have an extensive indoor habitat; however they should also be provided with outdoor yard space for outside time when the weather conditions are just right. Their enclosure should have at least 6 square feet of ground space for one tortoise. A tank is not recommended, a specially designed tortoise box or tub works best. Outdoor habitats should be well planted with shady bushes and may need misters in the drier climates. Mulch, moss, or bark can be used as a substrate, both indoors and out, to help maintain a higher humidity level. Mulch not only increases the humidity it also provides natural bugs and snails for them to forage on. They require a pool that they can submerge half way into; they will enjoy spending hours relaxing and soaking.

LIFESPAN: 20-50 years

TEMPERATURE/HUMIDITY: Day temperatures: 78-86° F; Night temperatures: 66-68° F; Basking: 90° F. They do need seasonal temperature changes. Winter temperatures can be kept around 5 degrees cooler for both day and night. In warmer regions they can be housed outdoors year round if they are provided with a heated shed to retreat to.

HIBERNATION / ESTIVATION: The Elongated Tortoise does not hibernate. They need their environmental conditions maintained year round.

HEALTH CONCERNS: Elongated Tortoises are relatively worry free if born in captivity and provided a proper diet and living environment. Most will only need a regular yearly check up. It is a good idea to have a fecal done at this time to check for internal parasites and salmonella.

Diet:
The Elongated Tortoise is unique in its naturally varied diet. They are natural omnivores eating large amounts of fallen, well ripened fruit, flowers, plants leaves, and dead animals. They will also feast on mushrooms, slugs, and bug (a bonus for your garden!) Likewise, as a pet, they should be fed a diet that is highly varied. Their diet should consist of fruits such as mangoes, papaya, grapes, and berries, as well as grasses, timothy hay, flowers (roses, hibiscus) dark leafy greens, and the occasional egg. They should get calcium carbonate supplements once a week.

Breeding:
The breeding season begins during the rainy season. This is not a species that is subtle or shy in its mating rituals. The male aggressively pursues the female by ramming and biting her. The behavior is violent and exceptionally loud. Owners new to the experience may be concerned that the tortoises may crack their own shells or cause other serious injuries, although other than bites to the female this is rarely the case.