Species Spotlight Vol. 7

by Jordan Gray 

M. impressa eNewsletter

Photo by Cris Hagen

Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa)

Countries of Origin:  Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam

IUCN Status:   Vulnerable

Estimated surviving population:  Unknown/Declining

Habitat:  Humid, tropical, evergreen, broadleaf and bamboo hill and montane forests up to 1300 m (4,265 ft) elevation.

Habits:  These tortoises have specialized dietary needs, feeding primarily on fungi in the wild, but will also forage on emergent vegetation such as bamboo shoots. This tortoise prefers the slightly cooler climate of hill and montane forests and are prone to heat-stress. Females may lay egg-clutches numbering 10 ‚Äì 21 eggs in a shallow depression that they cover with a leaf-litter mound.

Size: ‚⧠33 cm (13 in)

Factoid:  Impressed Tortoises are named for their concave carpacial scutes. They are also noted for the serrated morphology of their anterior and posterior marginal scutes. In comparison to their close relative the Burmese Mountain Tortoise (Manouria emys), the Impressed Tortoise is relatively flat in its overall carapacial morphology.

Greatest Threats:  Collection for the food, pet, and traditional medicine markets, and habitat destruction. Impressed Tortoises are known to be extremely hard to acclimate to captivity and some reports have noted a near-100% mortality rate with wild-caught specimens. Fine-tuning husbandry methods to produce an increased survival rate and captive-breeding success is paramount to creating assurance colonies for the species.

How you can help:  The long-term survival for this rare species hinges upon forest protection and the persistence of breeding-populations in these forests. The Turtle Survival Alliance partners with conservation organizations in this species' native range who focus on habitat and species-level protection. Additionally, we maintain a small group of Impressed Tortoises in our humid, sub-tropical climate at the Turtle Survival Center. You can help us preserve this beautiful, yet delicate tortoise by DONATING TODAY!