- Pancake tortoises can be housed indoors or outdoors. An indoor enclosure can be a 40-gallon terrarium or larger. Enclosure size needs to be at least 4 square feet for up to two tortoises. Add 2 square feet for every additional tortoise.
- Temperature, Humidity, & Lighting:
- Temperature: Basking 100 F; cooler side of the enclosure can range from 70 to 75 degrees
- Lighting: A fluorescent UVB bulb spanning the length of the enclosure takes care of the lighting needs. Provide a photoperiod of 12 hours of daylight.
- Substrate: Substrates of bark or coconut bedding.
- Provide hiding and climbing areas.
- feed on a variety of fresh and dry grasses, and some fruit in the wild. In captivity they eat a variety of grasses, hay, greens (such as collard, turnip and mustard), along with dandelion, endive, squash, carrots, hibiscus leaves, and many other vegetables and leafy greens. They also eat several of the commercial diets, which can be used to supplement fresh food. Supplement all fresh food items with calcium and multivitamins.
Notes on Enrichment & Training
- Check out the Reptelligence Facebook page and Reptelligence website for enrichment and training inspiration.
- Advancing Herpetological Husbandry July 2018 Quarterly Newsletter- Article Environmental Enrichment for Reptiles By Charlotte James
- Flat rocks can also be stacked carefully in a corner of the enclosure to provide crevices for them to explore.
Colony or Breeding Management
Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.
Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).
- Brandywine Zoo: During cool weather (under 65°F), supplemental heat is provided with a hot water bottle set to one side of the cooler. Wrap bottle with newspaper for lizards or snakes traveling with the bottle loose, to make cleanups easier in the case of defecation while traveling.
- Brandywine Zoo: reptiles travel in a Coleman style coolers that have been amended with extra ventilation holes on the lid (with a wood-burning tool). Small and medium sized snakes travel inside an inside-out, knotted pillowcase. Large snakes travel loose in the cooler that is also bungeed shut. For lizards, the cooler is lined with newspaper.
Tips on Presentation
Tips on Handling
This species is managed by a studbook and Yellow SSP. Contact Program Leader Andre Daneault firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments from the Rating System
Natural History Information
Range and Habitat
Southern Kenya and northern and western Tanzania. Rocky hills and slopes with rocky outcrops in arid savanna and scrub areas at altitudes from 100 to 6,000 feet.
Adult shell length ranges from 6 to 7 inches long and about 1 inch tall
At least 35 years and most likely much longer
Threats and Conservation Status
African pancake tortoises are found in southern Kenya and eastern Tanzania. They are currently listed as Vulnerable by IUCN and this is an Appendix II species on CITES. The biggest threats facing this species at this time are habitat destruction and over-harvesting for the pet trade.
Did you know…
Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.
- Check out sample animal policies, handling sheets, and fact sheets on our Example Policies & Guidelines page
- View past issues of Program Animal SAG Newsletters
- Ambassador Animal SAG Newsletter Vol. 2, Issue 3: Temperature and Transport: Welfare Implications for Ambassador Ectotherms
- Choice, Control, and Training in Ectotherms, By Carrie Kish
- Stress Management in Reptiles and Frogs
- Reptile Lighting Information
- Check out the Advancing Herpetological Husbandry Facebook group. They have also published several newsletters (see Reptiles page for links).
- See: AAH -January 2018 Quarterly Newsletter Article: Temperature and Heat for Reptiles By Roman Muryn
Contributors and Citations
- African Pancake Tortoise SSP/Studbook