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Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri)

Pancake tortoises are found in parts of Kenya and Tanzania and East Africa. They are excellent climbers, and make their homes under rocks, in rocky crevices or in small caves. When alarmed or to escape predators pancake tortoises will run into narrow cracks in the rocks, and use their front legs to tightly wedge themselves in. Although their pliable plastron allows these tortoises to "inflate" themselves to increase their thickness. Pancake tortoises seem to be very adaptive, and with suitable care and attention can thrive in captivity.

Individual, unique patterns of alternating radiating cream and brown bars on the carapace and scutes help the tortoises blend into their surroundings while foraging. They are a non-hibernating species that has no tolerance for consistently damp or high-humidity environments, nor cold and damp conditions imposed by outdoor weather. If kept outdoors part of the year, they should be provided with a protecting shelter warmed with a ceramic heat emitter to dissipate any ambient moisture. Pancakes will need to be housed in a habitat with either an inward-facing lip or mesh covering to prevent climb-outs.

Pancake tortoises need constant access to water . They will gladly drink, soak and defecate in these pools of water. They should feed on primarily large amounts of different fibrous grasses and, when available, leafy weeds and greens. A very high fiber, low protein, and calcium-rich diet will ensure good digestive tract function as well as smooth growth. Pancake tortoises are a grazing species; every effort should be made to duplicate this diet in captivity. High moisture foods like fruit should be avoided.

Pancake tortoises become somewhat more active during the breeding season, especially the males. If two or more males are kept together, they will sometimes fight over the females, who tend to ignore the males unless the male is actively pursuing or circling her. January through march is the normal active breeding months. Also females lay one egg per clutch. A female can lay multiple eggs over the course of a single season, with eggs appearing every six weeks to two months. Each egg is about two inches long, but only half this in width.