Range- Madagascar, primarily on the west and east southern regions of the Island.
Habitat- The Radiated tortoise is a forest- and savanna-dwelling species. The unique and diverse geographical anomaly of Madagascar plays a very different role in the common grassland, or forest. The forests inhabited by the Radiated are very dry and sandy soiled, full of thorny trees, and plush with succulents. The southern region of the island can get very warm. The temperature in the winter months only fluctuates to 10-18 degrees less than the summer months. During the winter there is a “wet” season that has little rainfall, but stimulates the nesting seasons for the Radiated tortoise.
Diet- Large variety of grasses, succulents, and fallen fruits from native trees.
Size- 14-17” in length, 35-50 pounds.
Conservation- Critically Endangered in the wild. Captive breeding programs, such as American Zoological and Aquarium (AZA), had initiated this species into a Species Survival Program (SSP) in the 1980’s. The SSP for the Radiated tortoise has done a wonderful job in the captive propagation of this species. Some of the originated animals have been placed onto surrounding islands of Madagascar, where they have shown a more positive increase. Still extremely rare and endangered. The native peoples of Madagascar eat these beautiful creatures. In order to improve soil fertility, the Madagascar native people burn crops, inadvertently killing 100’s to 1000’s of eggs causing a huge decline in Radiated population numbers.