The Ploughshare Tortoise is a land tortoise that lives only on the island of Madagascar. They are considered the most threatened species of land tortoises because many of them have been captured to keep as pets, and because their habitat has been turned into farmland.
Shell size: Maximum 44.6 cm
(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha) (*World Animal Heritage)
The Ploughshare Tortoise lives only on the dry grasslands in the northwest part of the island of Madagascar.
They eat the leaves on short trees and grass.
The Ploughshare Tortoise is characterized by a bump that looks like a shoehorn extending from its neck. This is actually part of the tortoises' shell on its stomach. Male tortoises will use this to flip over their opponent in a duel.
Hide in their shells they may...
The Ploughshare Tortoise is the most threatened species of land tortoises. One reason for this is their popularity as pets. Most tortoises retract into their shells to hide and protect themselves from their enemies. However, for hunters interested in selling them as pets, this instinct to hide and remain motionless in their shells at the sense of danger is a convenience because it makes them easier to catch. Many of the Ploughshare Tortoises have been captured to be sold as pets, thus reducing their population.
Their habitats are also disappearing!
Environmental change also disturbs life for the Ploughshare Tortoise. Their habitats are disappearing due to frequent field burning in order to make pastures and fields. There has also been the emergence of a natural enemy that eats their eggs and hatchlings -- the bush pig. Originally, people brought the bush pig to the island from the African continent. Now, it has become a wild animal. Efforts to artificially breed and return the Ploughshare Tortoise to the wild are underway. However, this species grows at a very slow rate. it will take years for their numbers to increase because a Ploughshare Tortoise that has been released to the wild takes many years to bear children.
If you click the words above, you can see other animals related to this one.