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Radiated Tortoise - Astrochelys radiata : WAZA : World Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Radiated Tortoise

(Astrochelys radiata)




Facts about this animal

The radiated tortoise has a oval, extremely elevated, smooth carapace. Each of the shields bears a distinct pattern of alternate radiating bands of yellow and dark brown. Usually the yellow lines are narrower than the brown, but sometimes the reverse is the case. In very large specimens, of over 400 mm carapace length the characteristic pattern might be missing; also some entirely yellowish specimens have been recorded. The radiant pattern is also visible on the marginals and on the plastron. The head is yellow with a black top. The tail is ending with a spur-like scale.

Did you know?
that international trade in radiated tortoises taken from the wild is prohibited by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)? As a consequence, considerable efforts have been undertaken to breed radiated tortoises in human care.


Name (Scientific) Astrochelys radiata
Name (English) Radiated Tortoise
Name (French) Tortue radiée de Madagascar
Name (German) Strahlenschildkröte
Name (Spanish) Tortuga estrellada de Madagascar
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
André Karwath



Range Madagascar, introduced to Mauritius and Réunion
Habitat Dry thorn forests and tropical woodlands
Wild population Unknown, but decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 603 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Radiated Tortoise


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 43 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Jeff Delonge

Why do zoos keep this animal

The radiated tortoise is listed as vulnerable in the IUCN red Data Book, and mainitaining a self-sustaining ex situ reserve population has some merits. it is also a good ambassador species for the largely threateneded wildlife of Madagascar, which is one of the World's Biodiversity Hotspots.