Let's Not Lose Them
Crawling stars!
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Have you encountered a crawling star? Sometimes you can. Especially if you meet our Indian star tortoise! The eye-catching golden star patterns on its grayish brown shell give the species its name. In its natural surroundings, among the grass roots in dry forests, the shell marking is an excellent camouflage. The scientific name for the Indian star tortoise is Geochelone elegans.
Today these pretty animals are plucked from their natural places and sold in many markets and pet shops. India alone supplies up to 20,000 live specimens. Some end up in cooking pots, but most end up in pet shops. Due to lack of proper care and diet, these animals die within six months. The tortoise is an omnivore, eating both insects and plants.

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It feeds predominantly on roots and shoots of different grasses and also eats some fruits. But they are known to eat flies, beetles, and other insects. They are hardy and resistant to weather. During relatively cool weather, they can survive drought by simply remaining inactive. Star tortoise can live without food for long periods of time in their natural habitat.
Habitat destruction, removal of dry forests for cultivation or for house building, also adds to the threat of extinction for this species. Although law protects the Indian star tortoise, it continues to be held as pets or traded openly. In large markets in most cities it is easy to find this tortoise in cages and sold in pet shops internationally.
Star tortoise breed in Monsoon. The female tortoise lays a clutch of 5 to 8 eggs by digging a shallow hole in the ground and then covering it up with soil. In some years female lays up to ten such clutches. The hatchlings wait for a rainstorm to soften the soil and make their way out through the soil. Male tortoises are territorial and aggressive. Raising awareness about the precarious condition of the species is the only way to ensure survival of many species in India.



User's Comments                     
herman wong
How easy is it to breed the indian star tortoise in captivity?
Editor
If one can be precise, vigilant and cautious in diet and recreating habitat, then it is not difficult to extend the life of the star tortoise. For instance: it does not tolerate damp or cold but enjoys warm rainfall periodically. It requires extensive indoor and outdoor territory. It requires regular soaking in water. For diet: mixed grasses and fruits of Opuntia. Avoid feeding’ wet’ foods such as tomatoes, lettuce, and fruits. Tortoise requires high coarse fiber diet. High vegetable proteins (like beans) leads to excessive growth, poor bone formation, and increases the blood urea level to dangerous levels. Provide supplements with calcium and mineral trace elements- especially in juveniles and egg-laying females. The species does not thrive in captivity, and must be allowed to roam in a well-planted tropical garden. They are even happy to chew on lawn grass! Although it needs some natural sunlight, care should be taken not to allow them to overheat. Indoor pets can be provided with regular Vitamin D3 supplement and some UV-B full spectrum light tubes. Star tortoise catch diseases if mixed with other species. Let us know of your success!
ANOOP
From where can I get this indian star tortoises? Actually I wanted to keep them as pets.
agam
It's really endangered tortoise. There are too much death if someone tries to keep it as a pet
lisa
I have recently taken on an indian star from a friend who had nowhere else for it to go. I am looking for someone who I can get regular info from if I am unsure as the vets here do not seem to know that much. I am needing some help to ensure I am looking after my star tortoise correctly. What foods would you recommend? and how am I to give it grass now the weather is cold and wet if they are not allowed wet foods. I was also told lettuce was ok as long as it wasn't the common iceberg lettuce. If my tortoise was to get ill, what should I look out for. Is it ok to let the tortoise roam the living room when its quiet or is that too cold? I would appreciate it if you could get back to me.
Jeff Leong
What is its daily vegetation diet? What can cure the Indian star from running nose?
Randy Bennett
How can I suppliment (and increase) my Star Tortoise's fibre in her diet. I rely mainly on store or market bought veggies - I live in a big city, in Taichung Taiwan - not much grass, and when I do find some, I am concerned about pesticides that might have been used on it - not good to eat. - I know that he needs more fiber than our "people Veggies". Any suggestions?
Avinash S Kulkarni
Dear Sir, Site is really cool.. Can you please send me info about fresh water tortoise, how and what to feed ..How much space it requires and all.. I did got one injured tortoise and want to keep him until it gets fit ... Its a plain ,kind of ugly looking (Not like star)
Jyoti
I have a female star tortoise of around 25-30 years of age. It is in captivity since birth and lives quite confortably in our house. There are two issues for which I seek your advice : (1) Any registration/ licence required for its captivity from wildlife lows point of view? (2) I want to have a male star tortoise of similar age so that they make a couple and live in company of each other.
akshay sawant
I have star tortoise of around 5-6 years of age. Its shell has some cracks and holes on it. I wanna know its symptoms of some kind of disease and what shall I do to cure it. and send me some information on its diet and habitat and how to breed it.
zazaidi@yahoo.com
My Star Tortoise relishes tomatoes. Even when given a choice of other greens, it prefers tomatoes. Also, any idea of what is the right daily amount of food in weight that it should be fed?
Gunjan
I have recently acquired a pair of tortoises they have a green back circled by a orange circle. I would like to know which breed they are and how should one take care of them.
lk
mine died
Shakuntala Majumdar
I think that sites such as these should discourage having endangered species such as Star Tortoises as pets. Readers should be encouraged to know the CITIES law and asked to return to wildlife Dept any such animal. Today I raided and siezed a Star Tortoise. He has been given a clean chit of health by out vet, and tomorrow he will be rehabilitated with the Wildlife Dept.
manoj
1) How I should make his habitat, and of what size, and can I put a layer of stones in that, as the floor of the house is slippery. I am staying in a place where it is very cool in winter i.e from November to say February, and very hot during day in March to May and comparatively cool during monsoon i.e June to September. As I am planning to keep him in balcony, where the floor gets little wet when it rains. 2) Should a tray or plate of water be kept in his habitat 24 hrs. 3) Since yesterday I have given him Lettuce leaves and Coriander leaves for eating and he eats it very well. Now my query is what should be the exact nature of diet which is high in fibre and calcium and a little less in protien, and when and how many times to feed and in what quantiy ??? 4) Can calcium tablet say made by SANDOZ be crushed and given in small quantity on daily basis ? 5) I am told that every day he should be kept in a small tub with little water not going above his head for atleast one hour for him to pass the stool and urine. As today being my second day he does passes stool in about 15 minutes after putting in the tub, about urine I dont know. Does this above procedure required on daily basis or do tortoise pass stool on daily basis and urinate occassionaly. 6) Also I am told that he should be soaked under water every day for say one to two minutes cleaned and dried afterwards, and to apply little bit of oil on its back to keep it shining. Can you be please kind enough to anser to my above queries going point wise and based on the situation which I have provided.
Kristine t
Actually I have an indian star tortoise....my tortoise suffers from regular running nose...and one more thing...his skin is also peeling...what does that mean? Is it normal for a tortoise to peel skin???... Is it ok to give calcium tablets??
nishant chiplunkar
How should I raise my star tortoise indoors?
jazman
My Tortoise used to have a turtle table. Now that it is getting a vivarium what should Iinclude in it to keep it healthy as it is still quite young?
Tulasi
You can find these species in my Home village , which is chinnaramakrishna puram, pata tekkali, srikakulam district , AP, India. So people who want to see this endagered species can visit this place. These species are called by name "Kurama tabelu " in our Local Language.
Chris
Hi i just bought two new born singapore tortoise, which are green in color. Q1) how do i find their sex Q2) What is the ideal time for being in the water Q3) Is there any problem if they are in the same tub Q4) Since they are ver small what should be an adequate diet. Q5) Is there any issues if they are in water for longer time. can they spend the entire day in water and dont fall sick. Q6) what would be the illness symptoms and their remedies. I would be really grateful to you if you answer few of my quetion awaiting for an positive answer.
Manoj B Nair
There is a news in Mathru Bhumi daily that the authorities are looking for information about how to take care the star Tortoise.
Andy
Hi all, I live in the UK, I’ve just brought an Indian Star tortoise, he’s only 3 months old. My major concerns are that he has a very poor appetite and seems to always have a runny noise. As a new owner of an Indian Star I’m looking for any advice anyone can give me. Many thanks for any help in advance Andy
jeny
I recently got a star tortoise. We tried putting grass and lots of weeds. It refused to eat. But it feeds on carrots. Infact only carrots and since it was recommended to me to put powdred calcium in its food, I did so but it fell completely sick and weak. What do I do?
melron dmello
I have star tortoise. I want to know what should be fed to them. I also want to know if its ok to feed them crushed calcium tablets on daily basis. How long it can be kept in the water. I am also planning to make a small lawn for it in my balcony. Kindly give me some advise to raise it in a healthy manner.
charu
I recently got a star tortoise. We tried putting grass . But it feeds only on grass. Looking for information about how to take care of the star Tortoise and send me some information on its diet and habitat and how to breed it.
raj
Four Star Male indian Tortoises available for sale plzz reply at borra_rajesh@yahoo.co.in
manoj
I have Two Star Tortoises of 6 Month old. Would like to sell them for best price.Plzz write me back for more details,if interested.
Azimat
where can I get a calcium for Star Tortoise? Is there any type of food that contains calcium which is suitable for the tortoise? Thanks..(16/02/08)
Kit
I have a Star Tortoise since over a year and there were never any problems. Now I found that it has sort of warts growing on the left side of its face? What could it be and how can I cure it. I live in Sri Lanka and we had a long wet period recently.
April
I have Burmese and Indian star tortoises. I am learning that the burmese are more hardy than the Indian. My indian star has problems opening its eyes, almost like they are glued shut. Other than soaking it more, any other suggestions?
sam
Hi, I have an Indian star tortoise which has been very listless lately and does not open his eyes. Would be great if I could get some help!
jonathan
I need to know what to feed a baby star tortoise which was born just a little while ago in my home, parents are well and baby is just out of the shell. need help urgently what do I feed the little one ? how often and what do I use as a nest ? please give me some ideas.
Erica
My star tortoise has dug holes several times but I never saw her laying any eggs. Is she trying to lay eggs? Is it because she found the place not suitable? She starts digging hole again now, what can I do to help her?
Sonali Rawat
My star tortoise is of palm size i just wanna know how much old he would be????? Do we need to get give calcium on regular basis and from where do we get it?? Is it ok if i will not give him calcium or give him all other things in food like carrot, radish, lettuce, parsley, celery, broccoli, spinach, coriander leaves & green grass.I feed my tortoise thrice a day. He drinks less or no water. what else should be given so that he will not prone to any diseases and just be healthy. I took him outside sometimes but he will always search for dark and corner. Please advice what extra care should be taken really a new care taker for my tortoise. Thanks in advance.
carolyn
Hi, my name is carolyn. I have an indian star tortoise that i look after for about 8 years plus. Recently this year, he has been very weak and sick. But now he is better. I realised that his skin is getting darker. His neck is now black. Does this mean anything? Is it because he is getting older? Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks
A.K.
My star tortoise eye is swollen and she is not eating her diet since 5-6 days. plz suggest something, I am worried for her.
anuja
Hey, this is anuja. My star tortoise is neither eating her food since 7-8 days nor she is roaming. At first she used to eat tomato, cucumber, coriander leaves and used to crawl everywhere in living room. Please suggest something early as possible. I can't wait anymore.
William Seow
same here... eyes are shut,but puts her head out and in several time with shut eyes... help... got basking light and UVB light...
Anil
Please give me the proper diet programme for my star tortoise so that he will be happy and healthy.
Kumar Mehta
1)Can you help me with the kind of space tortoise requires? 2) Is it fine to keep 2 tortoise in the same tub/tray? 3)What is the ideal breed of tortoise to be kept as pets at home?
maria
I bought my star tortoise 7 months back , he/she was active till two days back but now she is not roaming ,eyes are shut,but puts her head out and in several time with shut eyes. I took her to a vet. He injected her with an antibiotic, and asked me to come three days for the same. Pls. let me know if she will recover. Urgent
Neelam
My star tortoise is ill and is he/she is not roaming from 2 days eyes are shut,but puts her head out and in several time with shut eyes and is not eating anything from 2 days Pls. let me know what is the problem and cure for the same. Urgent
saeed
My Star tortoise eat only tomatoes. I want to know how to fixed this problem.
Archana Gohil
I have pet Star Tortise, whenever I & my family wants to leave out of town its a problem to keep them with somebody else's place. Can u suggest any packed food supplement which I can provide them which lasts for 1 or 2 weeks atleast or any other food items available in the market
Nikhil Shetty
I have two star tortoises, I want to know which one is male and which one is female.
Kapil
Please do not keep star tortoises at home indoors. They are meant to be in natural dry surroundings. If your tortoise/s is not doing well. It is due to this. We are adopting tortoises and putting them into their natural environment. Please contact us if you would like us to adopt your tortoise. You can email me at kmandawewala@gmail.com or call me at +91 98252 10425. Thanks!
Moo Moo
The tortoise started to experience running nose about a year ago, it lost it's appetite, not passing waste. It's still roaming around, especially when it notice human activities around it, though much more lethargic now... guess it needed some treatment critically, any advise? Thanks
dhyani
my start tortoise is very small in size and doesn't eat much..he only eats one or two bites..wat are the food which i can give??his skin is peeling of ??? what should i do..???
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