Indian Star Tortoise is a critically endangered species that only can be found in dry areas and scrub forest in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This species is very popular in the exotic pet trade, which is the reason for them to get the highest level of international protection from commercial trade.
They range from India (except Lower Bengal), extending west to Sindh province (Pakistan) and Sri Lanka. A large number of specimens of this species are found in the illegal wildlife trade in India. Few studies exist which have quantified wild populations and the effect of trade on them
If you are set on an Indian star tortoise, your best source will be a reputable breeder. For a local lead on a breeder, inquire at a nearby exotics veterinarian, ask your area reptile rescue, or meet breeders at a regional reptile expo.
Captive-bred animals are less likely to have parasitic infections, and a reputable breeder has information on their breeding, birthdate, and health history.
Indian star tortoises are easily recognizable by their beautifully star-patterned shells. Unlike some other tortoise species, star tortoises are not territorial. And, since they’re small, you can house several of them together. They are not climbers. Indian star tortoises do not like being handled. They can get stressed out and get ill if handled frequently, so these animals should not live in homes with small children.
Although these tortoises tend to be shy and do not like handling, they may grow more comfortable with an owner’s occasional handling, especially when that owner brings them food. They rarely bite, but a nip may occur if the tortoise thinks a brightly colored toenail or fingernail is a flower petal.
Tortoises in captivity are also susceptible to several illnesses:
- Respiratory infection: Usually caused by inadequate lighting, heating, fresh food, clean water, or an environmental stressor; an exotics vet would likely need to treat with antibiotics.
- Metabolic bone disease: Caused by a lack of calcium or a problem absorbing calcium; best prevented with adequate full-spectrum lighting or direct sunlight; an exotics vet would likely prescribe a liquid calcium treatment.
- Cloaca prolapse: Commonly caused by dehydration, a stone or hardened urate blocks the bladder; this requires veterinarian intervention.
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