Radiated Tortoise

Astrochelys Radiata

The radiated tortoise is a critically endangered species! Radiated tortoises are found in the spiny cactus and thorn forests of southern and southwestern Madagascar where they feed upon a variety of different grasses, fruits, and the pads of prickly-pear cactus. Considered by many to be one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises, they grow up to 16 inches in length and weigh up to 35 pounds. They can live up to 100 years or more.

When attacked by a predator, the tortoise will pull itself inside its shell and let out a high pitched cry to scare the predator away.

An animal is classified as Critically Endangered when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future. Threats to this species include habitat loss, collecting for pets and poaching for its meat. To help save radiated tortoises from extinction, the El Paso Zoo is working with other zoos in a conservation breeding program called the Species Survival Plan.

Fun Facts


Class: Reptilia

Order: Testudines

Family: Testudinidae

Genus: Astrochelys

Species: A. Radiata


Radiated tortoises only occur naturally in the extreme southern and southwestern part of the island of Madagascar. They have been introduced to the nearby island of Reunion. Radiated tortoises prefer dry regions of brush, thorn forests and woodlands of southern Madagascar.