The Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone Elegans)

lives in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Its natural habitat in the south west of India stretches from Gujarat across the border into Pakistan, and in the east of the estuary of the river Ganges via the outer southern tip of India and into Sri Lanka. Depending on the dispersal area a distinction is made between the larger, North Indian and Pakistani breeds, the smaller South Indian one and the again slightly later variant from Sri Lanka with its often thicker star pattern. These are, however, not a genetically different, genuine subspecies.

Within their natural dispersal area they occupy different habitats. In India, G. Elegans lives in desert-like areas and wasteland, in Sri Lanka their habitat includes brushwood as well as sand dunes. 

G. Elegans is a vegetarian but enjoys the occasional snail or earthworm. 

It is a medium sized tortoise with a maximum weight of usually no more than 3.5 kg in females and 750g in males. G. Elegans is a very sensitive tortoise that easily develops a cold in wind and even mildly cold weather. Outside their natural habitat they must be kept in very specific conditions. They must feel very comfortable in their environment in order to keep healthy. Tortoises only develop trust after a long settling in period.

Their well-being depends largely on the right temperatures and the level of protection their enclosure offers. Of all star tortoises it is the least active during daytime and needs plenty of hiding places.