The Indian star tortoise is a popular species of tortoise native to peninsular India. These beautiful creatures are known for their gorgeous star-shaped shells and gentle nature, making them coveted pets among reptile lovers. In this post, we explore everything you need to know about the Star Tortoise, including its habitat, diet, behaviour and conservation status. Whether you are considering getting a pet or just want to learn more about these fascinating creatures, this post will provide you with valuable information and insight. So, let’s dive in and explore the wonderful world of the Indian Star Tortoise!

Table of Contents

Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian star tortoise, also known as Geochelone elegans, is a species of tortoise in the Testudinidae family. These tortoises are native to India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and are found in a variety of habitats including grasslands, scrublands and forests.

One of the most distinctive features of the Indian star tortoise is its beautiful shell, marked with radiating lines and star-like spots. The colour of the bark can vary from yellow to brown and the patterns can be white, black or brown. These patterns not only make the Star Tortoise an attractive pet but also help them blend in with their surroundings and protect them from predators.

Indian Star Tortoise
Indian Star Tortoise | illegal? - Price, Food, Care, Health 6

In the wild, star tortoises are herbivores, eating mainly grasses, weeds and leaves. In captivity, they are kept on a diet high in fibre, calcium and vitamins, and should be offered a variety of greens, vegetables and fruit. They also need a warm, moist environment with access to a breeding area and hiding place.

Indian Star Tortoise Baby

Indian Star Tortoise babies are a sight to behold with their tiny size and adorable features. These hatchlings are typically around 2-3 inches in size and have a shell that is not fully developed yet. They are very fragile and require a lot of care and attention to thrive in captivity.

Types of Indian Star Tortoise

There are several types of Indian Star Tortoise, each with its own unique characteristics and features. Here are some of the most common types:

Sri Lankan Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans elegans):

This is the most common type of Indian Star Tortoise, found in Sri Lanka and southern India. They have a yellow or beige shell with black markings.

Northern Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans north):

Found in northern India, this type of Indian Star Tortoise has a lighter shell color than the Sri Lankan Star Tortoise, with white or beige markings.

Indian Star Tortoise

Southern Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans trivittata):

This type of Indian Star Tortoise is found in southern India and has a dark brown or black shell with yellow or white markings.

Burmese Star Tortoise (Geochelone platynota):

Although not native to India, the Burmese Star Tortoise is often included in discussions of Indian Star Tortoise types. They have a striking black and gold shell with a unique pattern of star-shaped markings.

Bells Hingeback Tortoise (Kinixys belliana):

Another species often included in discussions of Indian Star Tortoise types, the Bells Hingeback Tortoise has a unique shell shape that allows it to close itself up completely to protect itself from predators. They are found in West Africa and have brown or black shell with yellow markings.

High Yellow Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian Star Tortoise species known as the High Yellow Star Tortoise is distinguished by its strikingly yellow shell. Due to their vivid hue, they are a common option for collectors and enthusiasts and may be found in southern India and Sri Lanka.

These tortoises should eat a range of greens, vegetables, and fruits since they are herbivores and need a diet high in fibre, calcium, and vitamins. They also need access to a basking area and a hiding location in a warm, humid environment.

Indian Star Tortoise

Biggest Indian Star Tortoise

The Star Tortoise is not known for its size, as they typically only reach lengths of up to 10-12 inches. However, there have been reports of individuals reaching up to 16 inches in length, making them one of the largest species of tortoise in India.

History of Indian Star Tortoise

The star tortoise, also known as Geochelone elegans, is a species of tortoise native to India and Sri Lanka. They have been part of Indian culture and mythology for centuries and are revered as symbols of wisdom and longevity.

The Indian Star Tortoise has become popular with collectors and hobbyists in recent years due to its unique star-shaped markings and vibrant colouring. But their popularity has increased the demand for the illegal pet trade, and conservation efforts are needed to protect this amazing species.

Appearance of Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian Star Tortoise is a small to medium-sized tortoise, typically reaching lengths of up to 10-12 inches. They have a domed shell with a unique star-shaped pattern on each scute, which varies in color from yellow to black.

Their head and limbs are also marked with yellow or white lines, and their eyes are large and round. Star Tortoises are sexually dimorphic, with males having longer and thicker tails than females.

Temperament of Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian Star Tortoise is a docile and gentle species that makes a great pet for beginners and experienced keepers alike. They are relatively easy to care for, requiring a warm and humid environment and a balanced diet of greens, vegetables, and fruits.

However, like all tortoises, they require space to roam and explore and can become stressed or aggressive if kept in cramped or inappropriate conditions. It’s important to provide them with a suitable enclosure and plenty of enrichment to keep them healthy and happy.

Behaviour of Indian Star Tortoise

The Indian Star Tortoise is a diurnal species, meaning that they are active during the day and rest at night. They are herbivores and spend much of their time foraging for food, using their strong beaks to break down tough vegetation.

Indian Star Tortoise

Indian Star Tortoises are also known for their unique behaviour of “stacking,” where they will climb on top of each other to bask in the sun or reach higher vegetation. This behaviour is thought to be a social activity and is often seen in groups of tortoises.

Indian Star Tortoise Price

The price of an Indian Star Tortoise can vary depending on a number of factors, such as age, size, gender, and location. On average, they can range anywhere from $150 to $500 or between Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 20,000. It’s always best to purchase from reputable breeders and ensure that they are obtained legally.

Indian Star Tortoise Price in India

The price range for a hatchling or baby Indian Star Tortoise can be between Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 12,000. For an adult tortoise, the price can range between Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 20,000 or even higher in some cases. However, it’s important to note that buying and selling of Indian Star Tortoise is illegal in India under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, and one should avoid engaging in any such illegal activities.

Indian Star Tortoise Baby Price

The price of an Indian Star Tortoise baby can vary depending on factors such as age, size, and location. On average, they can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 or between Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 12,000.

Indian Star Tortoise Prices In Major Indian Cities

Here are the approximate prices of Indian Star Tortoises in major Indian cities:

Star Tortoise Price List India
Different LocationsPrices-
Star Tortoise Price in DelhiRs. 10,000 to Rs. 25,000
Star Tortoise Price in KolkataRs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000
Star Tortoise Price in MumbaiRs. 15,000 to Rs. 35,000
Star Tortoise Price in AgraRs. 12,000 to Rs. 25,000
Star Tortoise Price in ChennaiRs. 13,000 to Rs. 28,000
Star Tortoise Price in PuneRs. 6,000 to Rs. 20,000
Star Tortoise Price in BangaloreRs. 8,000 to Rs. 15,000
Star Tortoise Prices in HyderabadRs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000
Star Tortoise Price In India Different Locations

Factors that Affect the price of Indian Star Tortoise

The price of an Indian Star Tortoise can be influenced by a number of factors, including age, size, gender, and overall health. For example, a younger tortoise may be less expensive than an older one, while a larger tortoise may command a higher price than a smaller one. Additionally, the rarity of certain colour patterns or subspecies may also affect the price. The availability of the tortoise in your area can also impact the price.

Indian Star Tortoise price comparison:

If you’re in the market for an Indian Star Tortoise, it’s important to do your research and compare prices from different sources. Prices can vary depending on location, breeder reputation, and other factors. While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option, it’s important to ensure that you’re obtaining your tortoise from a reputable source and that it has been obtained legally.

Indian Star Tortoise

How to negotiate the price of Indian Star Tortoise:

When negotiating the price of an Indian Star Tortoise, it’s important to do so respectfully and in a way that is fair to both you and the breeder. Be prepared to ask questions about the tortoise’s age, size, health, and history, and use that information to make an informed decision about its value. If the breeder is willing to negotiate, try to find a middle ground that works for both parties.

The true cost of owning an Indian Star Tortoise:

While the initial purchase of an Indian Star Tortoise may appear high, the long-term costs of having one must be considered. These might include expenditures like as food, lodging, veterinary care, and equipment. Moreover, you must guarantee that you can offer a proper and legal habitat for the tortoise, which may need additional expenses such as licences or licencing fees. Before making the commitment, be sure you’re financially equipped.

Video Credit: Mukougaoka Animal channel Tortoise Turtle and Owl

Facts about Indian Star Tortoise

Here are some facts about Indian Star Tortoise, must check them before buying it:

  1. The Indian Star Tortoise is a species of tortoise found in India and Sri Lanka.
  2. They are named for the star-like pattern on their shell.
  3. They are small to medium-sized tortoises, typically growing to be 6-10 inches long.
  4. Star Tortoises are herbivores, and primarily eat grasses and other vegetation.
  5. They are known for their unique and colourful shell patterns, which can range from yellow to black with white or yellow spots.
  6. Star Tortoises are listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade.
  7. They are social animals and can be kept in groups, but males can be territorial and may fight.
  8. Star Tortoises are relatively easy to care for and can make good pets, but it’s important to ensure that they are obtained legally and from reputable breeders.
  9. They have a lifespan of 30-50 years in captivity and can live even longer in the wild.
  10. Star Tortoises are known for their ability to right themselves if they are flipped over onto their backs.

Care Tips for Indian Star Tortoise

Always prefer good care tips for your star tortoise, because they are small in size and proper care makes them healthy and happy:

  1. Diet: Indian Star Tortoises are herbivores, and their diet should consist of a variety of fresh, leafy greens and vegetables such as kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, and carrots. Avoid feeding them fruits or high-protein foods.
  2. Habitat: Star Tortoises need a dry, warm environment to thrive. A well-ventilated enclosure with a basking area, hiding spots, and a substrate such as a coconut coir or peat moss is ideal. The enclosure should be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and parasites.
  3. Lighting and Temperature: Indian Star Tortoises require access to UVB lighting to properly metabolize calcium and maintain good health. A basking area with a temperature of around 95-100°F and a cooler area of around 75-85°F should be provided.
  4. Hydration: Indian Star Tortoises need access to clean, fresh water at all times. Soaking them in warm water for 20-30 minutes a few times a week can also help prevent dehydration.
  5. Health: Regular checkups with a reptile veterinarian can help ensure that your Indian Star Tortoise stays healthy. Look for signs of illness such as lethargy, lack of appetite, and abnormal behaviour, and seek veterinary care if necessary.
  6. Handling: Indian Star Tortoises can be handled, but it’s important to be gentle and avoid lifting them by their legs or tail, which can cause injury. Wash your hands before and after handling them to prevent the spread of germs.

Video Credit: Flora And Fauna

Health Issues of Indian Star Tortoise

There are many health issues to the Indian star tortoise, some common health issues are:

Respiratory infections:

Indian Star Tortoises are prone to respiratory infections, which can be caused by poor husbandry or exposure to cold temperatures. Symptoms may include wheezing, discharge from the nose or mouth, and lack of appetite.


Parasites such as ticks, mites, and intestinal worms can infect Indian Star Tortoises, causing symptoms such as diarrhoea, lethargy, and weight loss.

Metabolic bone disease:

This is a common condition in tortoises that occurs when they don’t get enough calcium or UVB lighting, leading to weakened bones and other health issues.

Shell rot:

Poor husbandry and hygiene can lead to the development of shell rot, which is a bacterial or fungal infection that can cause the shell to soften and deteriorate.

Star Tortoise Lifespan

Indian Star Tortoises can live up to 40-50 years in captivity, and even longer in the wild. With proper care and husbandry, they can live long, healthy life. However, poor nutrition, inadequate housing, and lack of veterinary care can lead to health issues and a shorter lifespan.

Star Tortoise Food

Always provide healthy, nutritional and energetic food to your Star Tortoise, must follow the diet in the given beow table:

Type of FoodExamples
GreensKale, collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, turnip greens
VegetablesCarrots, squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas
FruitsSmall amounts of berries, apples, pears, melons
FlowersHibiscus, roses, daisies
SupplementsCalcium and vitamin D3 supplements should be dusted on food a few times a week
Star Tortoise Food

10 Names for Indian Star Tortoise

It’s important to research and choose a name that has significance and meaning for you, as well as ensure that you can provide proper care and husbandry for your Indian Star Tortoise, Choose the perfect name for your Tortoise:

AdityaSun God
ArjunWhite, bright, shining
KavyaPoem or poetry
LeelaDivine play or game
MayaIllusion or magic
RajuKing or ruler
SitaFurrow or line (a Hindu goddess)
VishnuOne of the principal deities in Hinduism
10 Names for Star Tortoise

Indian Star Tortoise Video

Video of Star Tortoise to let you understand Star Tortoise care tips, food, lifespan, and other factors. Video Credit: Garden State Tortoise

Conclusion and Final Words:

Finally, because of its unique appearance and docile nature, the Indian Star Tortoise is a fascinating and popular pet. It is important to note, however, that they require specialised care as well as a proper diet to ensure their health and well-being. As for the price, it can vary depending on various factors such as age, size, and location. It’s important to research and compare prices before purchasing an Star Tortoise, and to consider the long-term costs of owning one. The Star Tortoise, with appropriate care and attention, may be a lovely and gratifying companion for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions on Indian Star Tortoise:

  1. Why Star Tortoise Is Illegal?

    Indian Star Tortoise is listed as “Endangered” under the Wildlife Protection Act, which makes it illegal to sell or purchase without proper licenses.

  2. Is Star Tortoise Lucky For Home?

    Some people believe that keeping a Star Tortoise in the home brings good luck and positive energy, but this is based on superstition and has no scientific basis.

  3. Can We Keep Star Tortoise In Home?

    Yes, Star Tortoises can be kept as pets in suitable and legal conditions, but they require specialized care and a proper diet.

  4. How Big Do Indian Star Tortoises Get?

    Indian Star Tortoises can grow up to 12 inches in length, with males typically being larger than females.

  5. How Long Do Indian Star Tortoises Live?

    Indian Star Tortoises have a lifespan of around 30-40 years with proper care and attention.

  6. How To Take Care Of Star Tortoise At Home?

    Star Tortoises require a suitable enclosure with proper heating and lighting, a balanced diet of greens and vegetables, and regular vet checkups.

  7. What Do Star Tortoise Eat?

    Star Tortoises are herbivores and eat a diet of greens, vegetables, fruits, and flowers, with supplements of calcium and vitamin D3.

  8. Why Are Indian Star Tortoises Expensive?

    Indian Star Tortoises are expensive due to their unique appearance, endangered status, and the high cost of legal breeding and licensing.

  9. How To Know Star Tortoise Male Or Female?

    Male Star Tortoises have a concave plastron (underside) and a longer tail, while females have a flat plastron and a shorter tail.

  10. Is Indian Star Tortoise Banned In India?

    Indian Star Tortoise is not banned in India, but it is listed as “Endangered” under the Wildlife Protection Act, which regulates their trade and transportation.

  11. Can Star Tortoise Live In Water?

    Star Tortoises are terrestrial and cannot live in water for extended periods. They require a suitable enclosure with a dry substrate and access to shallow water for drinking and soaking.

  12. Can Star Tortoise Swim?

    Star Tortoises are not strong swimmers and should not be placed in deep water. However, they can soak in shallow water to hydrate and regulate their body temperature.

  13. How Many Burmese Star Tortoises Are Left?

    The Burmese Star Tortoise is listed as “Critically Endangered” with an estimated population of fewer than 5,000 individuals remaining in the wild.

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