Indian Star hatchling
The Indian Star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) is native to India, part of Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Star tortoise is a geographical variant of the Indian Star tortoise. It can be difficult to tell Indian and Sri Lankan Stars apart, unless you know what area they originally came from.
Indian Star tortoises are born with yellow “butterfly” or “bow” patterns on their shells. These butterflies develop into star shapes with growth. Indian Star babies typically hatch with a four point star pattern on each scute. The new lines start as little spots and then get longer and grow more lines with age. Adult Indian Stars end up having more than six lines per scute, and they do not meet at the end like Burmese stars. This is different when compared to a Burmese Star tortoise, who have a very clear six point pattern on most of their scutesand the star patterns meet each other exactly, to form a beautiful net pattern. The number of lines on the Burmese star stays the same as the tortoise ages from hatchling to adult.
Indian stars have yellow shells with dark brown or black patterns, even though it looks like they are dark with yellow stripes. Head and legs are yellow or light brown and spotted in both species.
Indian Stars can be somewhat delicate and they tend to be sensitive to cold and long periods of high humidity in cold conditions. They are prone to respiratory problems if kept too cold and damp. Indian stars are not the best choice as a first tortoise, but captive-bred Star tortoises can do quite well when provided with the correct environmental conditions and appropriate diet.
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