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Forsten's Tortoise

This tropical species of tortoise comes from Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia, formerly known as apart of the Celebes Islands . Forsten's Tortoises average 10-13 inches as adults with a nice caramel to cream colored shell. The carapace  can vary with dark black spots in the center of each scute, and some with the black pigmentation spreading further out through the carapace. Forsten's Tortoises are very easily mistaken for Elongated and even Travancore Tortoises to the inexperienced  tortoise keeper. Being a tropical species they favor high levels of humidity and a constant water source. These tortoises do have large black eyes and prefer filtered sunlight with lots of shade, but tortoise keepers will see them basking in the full sun from time to time. They enjoy temperatures in the  80's  and can tolerate higher temperatures with proper water holes or mud pits for them to cool down in. Just like any tortoise they are able to cool down to 55 degrees providing they are able to bask and raise their body temperature up the following day.  Forstens Tortoises also enjoy heavily planted enclosures, this provides them with ample locations to hide and feel secure. They do not necessarily dig but they will shift around a little bit into the substrate to feel more secure. Being omnivorous Forstens appears to be remarkably resistant to the deformities often encountered in captive tortoises due to poor diets and lack of humidity. A varied diet of greens, forbes, commercial tortoise diets, vegetables, fruits and earthworms or mealworms should be offered. Also needed to be mentioned, large females of this species are typically highly aggressive to other Forstens, be it male or female. In group dynamics large females have been seen to ram and chase other tortoises over territorial disputes or just hierarchy ranks. A large enclosure is suggested if keeping multiple Forsten's together in a group setup. During the mating season males go on the aggressive by mounting and battling for reproduction rights. Males will circle the females and sometimes bite at the  legs and neck before mounting. The head of this species is yellowish, tan color except during the breeding season where both sexes take on a pinkish coloration around the nares and eyes. These tortoises are easily sexed by common visable methods. Forsten tortoises lay 1-4 eggs in a shallow next dug out by their back legs. Hatchlings have unmistakable pointed serrations on the back of their shells and can vary in color and shell patterns. This species is becoming a popular tortoise among families and tortoise caretakers.