Forsten's tortoise (Indotestudo forstenii)

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Forsten's tortoise
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Forsten's tortoise fact file

Forsten's tortoise description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderTestudines
FamilyTestudinidae
GenusIndotestudo (1)

Forsten's tortoise is a medium-sized, yellowish tortoise (2). The smooth carapace varies from caramel with black blotches to all-black (2). Males have longer tails than females; they also have a narrower shape and have a more concave plastron (2). During the breeding season, the usually yellow head develops a pinkish tinge around the large eyes (2). This species was previously confused with the Travancore tortoise (I. travancorica), but the two tortoises are now recognised as separate species (2).

Also known as
Celebes tortoise.
French
Tortue De Tranvancore, Tortue Des Celèbes.
Spanish
Tortuga Marrón De La India.
Size
Length: 25 cm (2)
Weight
2.5 kg (2)
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Forsten's tortoise biology

Forsten's tortoises are most active at dawn and dusk, foraging for a mixture of fruits, leaves, worms and slugs (2). Pairs engage in a relatively aggressive courtship, when the male will often ram his mate and bite her head and legs (2). The female lays a clutch of one to four eggs in a flask-shaped nest in the soil, covering up the eggs by scraping soil back over the hole with her back legs and then flattening it (2).

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Forsten's tortoise range

Found only on the islands of Sulawesi and Halmahera in Indonesia (2).

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Forsten's tortoise habitat

Forsten’s tortoise inhabits damp rainforest (2).

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Forsten's tortoise status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered

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Forsten's tortoise threats

The destruction of habitat on the islands of Sulawesi and Halmahera is greatly threatening the survival of this tortoise, which has a highly restricted range (2). In addition, tortoises are hunted both for their meat and to supply the pet trade (1).

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Forsten's tortoise conservation

International trade in Forsten's tortoise is restricted by its listing on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3). More effective protection of both its habitat and its population is required however, if the future of this Asian tortoise is to be secured.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Carapace
The top shell of a turtle. In arthropods (insects, crabs etc), the fused head and thorax (the part of the body located near the head) also known as ‘cephalothorax’.
Plastron
In reptiles, the ventral shell of a turtle or tortoise.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2003)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. World Chelonian Trust (April, 2003)
    http://www.chelonia.org/Articles/Iforsteniicare.htm
  3. CITES (April, 2003)
    http://www.cites.org
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Image credit

Forsten's tortoise  
Forsten's tortoise

© Shantanu Kundu & Kulendra Ch Das / Assam Univ. & Mizoram Univ. / India

Shantanu Kundu
shantanu1984@gmail.com

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