Pancake tortoises live in isolated colonies, with many individuals sharing the same kopje, or even crevice (6). Males fight for access to females during the mating season, in January and February, with large males tending to get the most chances to mate (2) (6). Nesting in the wild seems to occur in July and August, although clutches are produced year-round in captivity. The female digs a nest cavity about 7.5 to 10 cm deep in loose, sandy soil (2). Usually only one egg is laid at a time, but a female can lay multiple eggs over the course of a single season, with eggs appearing every four to eight weeks (2) (5). In captivity, the incubation of the eggs lasts from four to six months (6), and young are independent as soon as they hatch (9). Wild and captive specimens often bask and, although they do not appear to hibernate, there are reports that they may aestivate beneath flat rocks during the hottest months (2) (5).
Most activity occurs during the morning hours or in the late afternoon and early evening. The diet primarily consists of dry grasses and vegetation. The pancake tortoise is a fast and agile climber, and is rarely found far from its rocky home so that, if disturbed, it can make a dash for the nearest rock crevice (2).