The name of this tortoise comes from the yellow stripes in the carapace, which looks like radiated rays. From this point of view, this tortoise looks alike the Indian Star Tortoise, but according to specialists, this tortoise looks a lot better. This tortoise is also bigger and it has a smoother carapace. The males of this species have longer tails. The radiated tortoises live in a limited area of Madagascar, but the efforts of different organizations increased the habitat of those tortoises in the neighbored island if Reunion. The radiated tortoises live in dry areas and forests, where they can find abundant resources of food.
This tortoise is predominantly herbivore. They are diurnal, looking for grass, fruits and plants all day long. This forms about 75% of their diet. They even eat cactuses, but only certain kinds. The radiated tortoises are social, and they like to stay in groups, in areas where they can find food. An area covered by those tortoises is noticed immediately, because the grass is perfectly trimmed. In the areas where Opuntia cactus can be found, there are surely some radiant tortoises, as they like this cactus more than anything else. This cactus is useful for tortoises, as it contains proteins and fibers required especially by young exemplars to grow.
It is almost impossible to have a radiant tortoise as a pet because of several considerations. First, they are protected by laws, so importing them in another country without a serious reason is forbidden. If you have the authorizations required for this, you will need to prove that you can create a habitat just like the natural ones. Third, considering the fact that they are rare, those tortoises are also expensive. If you want such a tortoise as a pet, you will need financial and logistic resources. In captivity, it is important to give the tortoises food that resembles with the cactuses, such as kale and chicory.
The males reach sexual maturity when they are 30 centimeters long, and the females reach theirs when they are 35 centimeters. The male starts his “attacks” by sniffing the female and circling her. Sometimes, the male has to immobilize the female, to prevent her from running away. In case another male is in the vicinity, a fight will probably start. The fight is violent, and usually, the male that suffers the first injury is considered defeated. Unlike other species, those tortoises don’t fight to death. The female lays 3-12 eggs in a hole of 15-20 centimeters, and then it is covered with sand. Incubation for this species lasts for a long time, for 5-8 months, and some of the nests are discovered and destroyed by predators during this time. The babies have a white color, they are really different from adults, but they will soon begin to change, a few weeks after being born.
Characteristics of the Sulcata Tortoise
Important Tortoise Facts
The Box Tortoise and Hibernation