Pancake Tortoise

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Pancake Tortoise

Scientific Name

  • The scientific name of Pancake Tortoise is Malacochersus tornieri. 


  • The tortoise makes hardy captives.
  • This kind of tortoise is one of the oddest of all tortoises
  • It has a flat and rather soft shell, soft plastron, and has the habit of fleeing rather than withdrawing into its shell when it is disturbed.
  • The tortoise is an excellent climber and makes its home under rocks.


  • These tortoises are found in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Eastern Africa.


  • Incubation 99 – 237 days.
  • Incubated at around 30 C


  • Normally 1 egg is latched. Rarely 2 eggs are latched.
  • The pancake tortoise’s egg is large.
  • Prior to nesting, the female tortoise is very active.
  • One of the behavior is digging trial nests in the substrate.


  • Adult size is about 6 inches (15cm) in length, 1-1.5 lbs (0.5-0.7kg).
  • Mature males have much longer and thicker tails than females.
  • Additionally, males tend to be smaller than females, and the ray pattern on their scutes is less distinct.


  • Captive tortoises can live 25 years or more.


  • Herbivorous (plant-eating);
  • They eat dry and Fresh Grass, Dark Leafy Greens (e.g., Mustards, Collards, Turnips, or kale).
  • Sometimes feeding them Pears, Apples (with skin), Beans (with skin), Peas (with skin), and Carrots is ok.
  • But never feed them with Very Juicy Fruits, like tomatoes, bananas, cabbages, cucumbers, Bok Choy, lettuces, broccoli, etc.

Tortoise Habitat and Vivarium Housing

  • Terrestrial, since they are sociable.
  • Rocky hillsides are their natural habitat.

Pancake Tortoise Common Disease

  • These tortoises might suffer repeated flagellate and gut problems such as colic resulting from excessive soft fruit feeding. Juicy food or fruits are not suitable such as tomatoes or lettuce.
  • Meat should not be given to Pancake Tortoises. It would cause poor bone formation, liver problems, excessive growth, etc.