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A garden tortoise

January 26, 2011

The yellow tortoise (Indotestudo elongata) is a native Thai species, roaming about at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai. It can be distinguished by its conspicuous shell, resembling a yellow military helmet. It is mainly active at dawn and dusk, and seems to hide most of the time. Being fond of fruits and mushrooms, it has plenty to eat here. Forest fires are considered a major threat to this species, and dams and hunting also contribute to its decreasing numbers, so gardens may constitute safe habitats.

If anybody thought tortoises move slowly, you have not seen our sprinter. She moves forward like a tank too, running downhill, partly tumbling, and simply withdrawing the head into the shell a millisecond before hitting a rock. Our hard-skinned lady has not been seen in a while, so we offer a free lunch to anybody who finds her and show her to us.

Ketsanee Seehamongkol

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