Malacochersus tornieri
Pancake Tortoise

    • Habitat:
      Isolated rocky hill and outcropping microhabitats in semi-arid and arid thornbush savannas
    • Threats:
      - Illegal collection for the pet trade
      - Habitat destruction and conversion for farming
      - Livestock ranching, timber, and charcoal production
      - Laundering wild-caught tortoises as captive bred
    • Conservation Efforts:
      - Captive breeding colonies
      - Population surveys and monitoring
      - Protected from collection in Kenya and Tanzania
      - Cites appendix I
    • Wild Population:
      - Decreasing
      - Estimated population reduction greater than 80%
      - Populations severely fragmented
      - Majority of populations occur outside protected areas
    • Endangered Status:
      Critically Endangered

Fast Facts

The Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) is a small, flattened tortoise that is found in isolated populations in Kenya, Tanzania and in remote areas of Zambia.

It was listed amongst the top 25 most endangered turtles in the world in 2018.

This species is unique in its ability to flatten its body and squeeze inside deep cracks and crevices of granite boulders (kopjes).

The small size and unique features have made it very popular in the pet trade between 1975 and 2015, where wild turtles were captured, and their habitat often destroyed in the process.

Species Snapshot