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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Elongated Tortoise

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4



Species : Indotestudo elongata
Maximum carapace length : 36 cm

The Elongated, or Yellow-headed, Tortoise Indotestudo elongata is one of just 4 species of native land tortoise occurring in Southeast Asia. This is the only member of the genus Indotestudo occurring in the region - the other two members of the genus occur in India.

This endangered species inhabits a variety of forest types, including wet, evergreen forest and dry, deciduous forest.

Its diet is varied and comprises fallen fruits, flowers, leaves, fungi and soft-bodied invertebrates.

Its carapace is yellowish-brown, with the central part of each scale or scute typically being black. The carapace is long, with parallel sides : this is domed in males, but flattened in females. Its head is relatively small, and its limbs bear large scales. The tail is short in females, but relatively long in males.

Its eggs, of which up to 7 may be laid at any one time, are deposited in loose soil, but unlike the Impressed Tortoise it does not construct a mound of leaves above the buried eggs.

This tortoise is widely poached, ending up in food markets in countries such as Vietnam and China. It is also harvested for traditional medicine, and sold into the pet trade.

The images shown here were taken in a captive breeding project at the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), near Kbal Spean, Cambodia.

Within Southeast Asia the Elongated Tortoise  occurs in Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) and parts of northern Peninsular Malaysia (Perlis). Outside the region it occurs in parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Figs 1 and 2 : Adult female with flattened carapace shelters beneath a log.

Fig 3 : Adult male, with strongly domed carapace.

Fig 4 : Rear view of a male, showing the large scale or scute at the rear of the carapace, which covers the tail.

Thanks to Christel Griffioen, ACCB, for assistance.

References : H12

Links :

Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity