Star tortoise (Geochelone elegans)

This species gets its obvious name from the famous star markings on their shells. They are found in northern, south eastern and southern India. In scrub forests, agriculture fields, grasslands and the edge of the desert.
The females are larger than the males, with their shells growing up to 38 cm. The males only grow up to 15cm. They are mainly herbivorous but they also scavenge on dead animals. They lay about 1 – 10 eggs between October and January during heavy rainfall. The incubation period is 180 days. They are classified as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. They are being sold as pets illegally in India and are eaten as a delicacy by local tribes in southern India.

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