Animal Facts
    Common Name:
    African Pancake Tortoise
    Scientific Name:
    Malacochersus tornieri
    • Unusual among tortoises because they are often found together in groups
    • Run for cover when threatened instead of pulling into shell
    • Usually only active for short time in morning and late afternoon
    1.5 in
    1.5 lb
    6.5 in
    Life Span:
    25 yrs
    Gestation Period:
    150 days
    Number of Young:
    1-2 eggs
    • Rocky Areas
    • Savanna
    • Shrubland
    Fun Facts:
    • Excellent climbers; they easily climb fences.
    • Openings in the bones of its shell make it lighter and more flexible than other tortoises.
    • Their light shell make them the fastest tortoise.
    • Habitat Loss
    • Poaching / Over Consumption
    Endangered Status
    Endangered Status
    • Extinct in Wild (EW)
    • Critically Endangered (CR)
    • Endangered (EN)
    • Vulnerable (VU)
    • Near Threatened (NT)
    • Least Concern (LC)
    • Not Evaluated (NE)

    These tortoises are much smaller than what people often think of when they hear the word “tortoise”. We have both males and females, and you might see many social interactions on your visit.  Males may chase males, they could pursue females for breeding, or you might catch them hanging out by the pool or in a shaded spot.  If you’re really lucky, you might even see nesting or egg laying!

    Saving Species Plan Logo

    This species is cooperatively managed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan program program. This program is responsible for developing a Breeding and Transfer Plan for each species in the program.