African pancake tortoise are native to East Africa and are found in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.  They inhabit rocky outcrops, called kopjes, or rocky hills in arid thorn scrub and savannah regions. These habitats are generally 30 to 1,800 meters (100 to 6,000 feet) above sea level.

African Pancake Tortoise spend most of their time in crevices in the rocky hillsides. They are generally solitary, but crevices may be occupied by pairs or sometimes small groups.

Food/Eating Habits

Dry grasses and vegetation, including succulents, make up the bulk of a pancake tortoise’s diet in the wild. They may also eat seeds, nuts and sometimes insects. Pancake tortoises seem to get most of their water from the foods they eat, a survival trait in their natural environment.

At the Zoo, they eat a mixture of leafy greens and pellets.

Reproduction and Development

Mating occurs throughout the year, but the peak of mating season occurs in January and February. Males fight for the opportunity to mate with females. Therefore, larger males tend to have the most chances to breed.

Nesting tends to occur in late spring and early summer. Females dig nests in loose soil or lay their eggs in a crevice. They only lay one egg at a time, but may lay many throughout the nesting season. Their incubation period lasts four to six months.


They can live for more than 30 years.


Hatchling, Well Started Baby, Yearling, Young Adult


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