The Pancake Tortoise has a distinctive flat shape and a flexible shell with openings between the bony plates, making it lighter and more pliable than other land tortoises. This flexibility allows it to seek refuge in narrow rock crevices. Typically brown, they sport bright yellow spots on their carapace. The flexible shell does not provide as much protection as a typical tortoise shell, leading them to spend most of their time in the safety of flat caves or wedged between rocks. Once inside a crevice, they can inflate their bodies, similar to pufferfish, to wedge themselves securely in place.
Pancake Tortoises spend much of their time in their flat caves or crevices for protection. They are primarily active in the morning and evening for basking and feeding. Generally, they venture out of their shelters for a maximum of 2-3 hours a day. During this period, they are quite active. If they sense danger, they swiftly run to the nearest hiding spot and wedge themselves as tightly as possible until the threat has passed. Known as the climbers among land tortoises, they are also adept escape artists.
In the wild, mating occurs during the first two months of the year, but under human care, it can happen throughout the year. Egg-laying usually takes place in the summer, with females depositing 1-2 eggs in loose, sandy, or loamy soil. Females may produce additional eggs every six weeks during the season. The young hatch after approximately four to eight months, depending on the climate.
Their habitat is found in the countries of Tanzania and Kenya. The Pancake Tortoise is an inhabitant of the so-called thorn bush savanna, a rocky, dry environment. They mostly live in 'kopjes', which are isolated rock outcrops in the African savanna.
- Pancake Tortoise
- Malacochersus tornieri
- land tortoise
- flexible shell
- thorn bush savanna
- behavior of Pancake Tortoise