Indotestudo elongata

(Blyth, 1853)
Elongated tortoise

The elongated carapace (to 36 cm) is domed with descending sides (old males may be more flattened dorsally), has a shallow cervical notch, a long narrow cervical scute (absent in some individuals), and the posterior marginals somewhat flared and serrated (more strongly serrated in juveniles). Vertebral 1 is about as broad as long, but 2-5 are broader than long; the 5th is expanded. Well-defined growth annuli surround the flat vertebral and pleural areolae. Usually 11 marginals lie on each side, and the undivided supracaudal scute is downturned between the somewhat expanded marginals. The carapace is yellowish brown or olive, with black blotches on the vertebrals and pleurals. The well-developed plastron has a deep anal notch. Its forelobe tapers anteriorly and is shorter and narrower than the hindlobe. The plastral formula is: abd > fem > pect ³ hum > gul > an. The gulars are somewhat thickened, and the bridge is wide with a small axillary and a larger inguinal scute. The plastron and bridge are yellow and usually unpatterned. The head is moderate with a nonprotruding snout and a weakly hooked, tricuspid upper jaw. Its large prefrontal scale is longitudinally divided, and followed by a large frontal scale which is often subdivided; other head scales are small. The head is pale cream to yellowish green without dark spots or blotches; during the breeding season, the skin around the eyes and nostrils becomes bright pinkish red. Limbs are brown to olive. The anterior surface of the forelimb is covered with moderate to small overlapping scales (the outermost largest).
The diploid karyotype is 52; 34 macrochromosomes and 18 microchromosomes (DeSmet, 1978; Dowler and Bickham, 1982).
A male has a longer thicker tail, and a concave plastron with shallow V-shaped anal notch; a female has a shorter tail, and a flat plastron with a deep U-shaped anal notch. Males are usually larger, often growing to 30 cm or more, most females are about 28 cm (although the record 36 cm tortoise was a female; Peter Paul van Dijk, pers. comm.).

Indotestudo elongata ranges from Nepal, Bangladesh, and northeastern India (Jalpaiguri, East Bengal, and Singhbhum in Bihar) southward through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and from Guangxi, China to Penang, Malaysia.

The elongated tortoise lives in dry, hot deciduous and savannah forest (Thirakhupt and Van Dijk, 1995). Nearby cool, humid evergreen forests are avoided.

Natural History
During courtship and mating the male is vocal and bites the head and neck of the female (Das, 1995). Das (1991, 1995) reported nestings in June and October; 1-7 elongated (37-58 x 27-40 mm) eggs comprise a clutch. The incubation period may last 96-165 days, according to nest temperature. Hatchlings have carapaces of 31-49 mm, and weigh 17-27 g (Das, 1991, 1995; Van Putten, 1992).
Fruits and flowers are the usual foods, but Nutphand (1979) reported they also eat fungi and slugs. In captivity, they take all kinds of fruits and vegetables, dry cat food, and beef and pork (Van Putten, 1992).

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Vulnerable (A1acd).