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Reptile Rapture,
6308 Monona Dr, Monona WI 53516
608-221-0094, www.reptilerapture.net


Common Names: Pancake Tortoise
Scientific Name: Malacochersus tornieri
Origin: Native to the east African countries of Tanzania and Kenya. As the name suggests, this species has thin flat shaped shell.
Size: 6"-8"
Lifespan: 40+ years

You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.

The native habitat of the Pancake Tortoise is found in dry rock outcroppings, scrub areas, and savannah. 

In captivity, large secure outdoor enclosures work well if you live in a favorable climate. A minimum of a 4'x4' space is needed per adult. Unlike most other tortoises, pancakes are fast runners and excellent climbers so your walls need to be at least a foot tall but higher is suggested. And a secure screen top is strongly recommended to keep the little guys in and preditors out. This species does not hibernate so if your winter temperatures drop, they must be brought inside.

For adults kept indoors, the minimum enclosure size should be no less than 40 gallons, larger is better.

Use a good substrate mixture of Zoo Med eco earth and Exo Terra sand is recommended, at least 6"-12" deep for adults. Keep it clean and dry. Tortoises are susceptible to respiratory and other disorders if they're kept in damp environments.

Provide tight hiding places, hides, ceramic caves, or other cover for them to take shelter in.


You'll want to keep your enclosures ambient temperature between 75 and 85 degrees F with night time temperature drop only down to 70 degrees. A basking spot of 95-100 degrees F should also be provided at one end of the enclosure. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer to figure out the temperatures in your enclosure.

They will need a UVB light to help properly process calcium and to synthesize vitamin D3. Since they are not out in natural sunlight in our homes, we must provide UVB light in the form of a special fluorescent bulb designed to produce UVB rays. The best bulbs are the mercury vapors such as Exo Terra's Solar Glo bulbs, ZooMed's Powersun, or Solar bright bulbs. These bulbs provide heat and UVB all in one bulb. You can also use separate basking (heat) bulb and UVB bulbs. If you use these, you will want the Zoo Med 5.0 or Exo Terra UVB 100 variety.

In the wild, Pancake Tortoises live in arid landscapes without standing water. Yet, it is recommended that you give them a weekly soaking for approximately 15 or 20 minutes. Use a shallow bowl with room temperature water. They will ususally drink and also expel their waste at this time making cleanup easier.
Pancake Tortoises are herbivores consuming mainly leafy greens (from which they get most of their water), along with grasses and flowers. Somes vegetables are okay. Do not feed them meat because it can lead to organ damage.

You can top off your greens with Repashy bluey buffet or zilla dried vegetable mix. Make sure to coat the greens with calcium and vitamins mix such as Repashy Superveggie.

Pancake Tortoises are friendly and fun to watch. They will learn to recognize you and come to you for food and occasionally, a head rub.