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Malagasy Spider Tortoise: Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides
Category: Rare & Exotic
Experience Level: Advanced Tortoise [?]
Care Sheet: Juvenile Tortoises
DescriptionThe Malagasy Spider Tortoise (pyxis arachnoides) , is only found in the deciduous forests and woodlands of southern coastal Madigascar, and is one of the world's rarest tortoise species. It inhabits these same areas with it's only close relative, the Madigascar Flat Shelled Spider Tortoise (Pyxis planicauda). The climate in these tortoise's range can vary greatly from below 45 degrees F, to over 100 degrees F. At the extreme ends of these temperature ranges the tortoises become very inactive.
When setting up Madigascar Spider tortoises, providing a humidity level above 70% is recommended. If keeping several Spider Tortoises together, special attention must be given to insure that enclosures provide sight line breaks as well as other opportunities to find separation, as this is an easily stressed species. A UVB basking area with temperatures in the low to upper 90s - at the opposite habitat end from a hide box containing high humidity; and for adults, a clean water dish is important; for juveniles, every other day soaking is the key. Deeper substrate allows Spider Tortoises to dig in and hide easily. Spider Tortoises are very sensitive to exotic pathogens so keeping them separate from other species is a must.
The Malagasy Spider Tortoise's diet should contain: various, fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, dandelions, clover, and many keepers report mushrooms are a favorite. Other favorites include: Melons, berries, cactus and peppers. A calcium supplement is required, and cuttlefish bone is often provided as well. Our juveniles are given a mix of pellets, greens, fruits and calcium supplement.
Adult Malagasy Spider Tortoises (reaching almost 6 inches ) develop variable, yet beautiful sunburst patterns of golden yellow radiating out from the center of each dorsal scute resembling a spider's web, and giving the species their scientific and common names. As personable as they are attractive, captive raised Madigascar Spider Tortoises are captivating, and very rewarding to keep. This species' status was evaluated and judged to be critically endangered. Their forest habitat is disappearing at 4-5% each year. Add to this, intense pressure from interaction with man on several levels, and the future of Madigascar Spider Tortoises in the wild is very bleak. Many years of hard work by a few American breeders has paid off, making small numbers of these fascinating little tortoises available for dedicated keepers.
* Remember, each Tortoise order comes with a free starter sample of the same Tortoise diet your Tortoise has been raised on - to order larger quantities, see the lower left side of this page. *
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