TRAVANCORE TORTOISE [ENDANGERED SPECIES]




Travancore tortoise (Indotestudo travancorica) is a large forest tortoise growing up to 330 mm. It primarily feeds on grasses and herbs. It also feeds on molluscs, insects, animal carcass, fungi and fruits. It occurs in hill forests at 450-850 m elevation. Males combat by ramming their shell during their breeding season between November and March. It makes a shallow nest in the ground and lay 1-5 eggs. Hatchlings are 55-60 mm in size. The tortoise is hunted and it is threatened due to forest fires, habitat destruction and fragmentation. Identification: a scute right behind the head is absent and the second scute along the vertebral column is located at the highest point of the shell. Status: IUCN Red list - Vulnerable; Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act: Schedule IV. Distribution: restricted to the Western Ghats, in the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Vernacular names: Tamil: Periya amai, Kal amai, Kadas: Vengala amai. Kannada: Betta aame, Gudde aame, Kadu aame. Malayalam: Churrel aama.