Radiated tortoise

Astrochelys radiata

NZ Misc 21 09 20 ONB AD LR 64
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Reptiles
Order: Testudines
Family: Testudinidae

Our group of radiated tortoises can be found just inside the main entrance to Newquay Zoo.

This reptile is native to dry thorn forests and tropical woodlands in southern Madagascar. They have been introduced to some other places, including Mauritius and Réunion. 

The radiated tortoise is a herbivore that spends 90% of its time grazing, eating leaves, grasses, flowers, fruit and cacti. Much of their diet is also made up of dead leaves. 

Interesting facts!

  • Radiated tortoise are amongst the world’s rarest tortoises.
  • During mating season, male tortoises will fight each other, and attempt to roll one another onto their backs.
  • The species is very long-lived – the oldest radiated tortoise ever recorded died at an estimated age of 188!
  • The Radiated tortoise can feel when you touch it, as its shell contains blood vessels and nerves.


These tortoises are classified as Critically Endangered due to habitat loss, being poached as a source of food, and over exploitation in the pet trade.