Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

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Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Nina » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:06 am

My grandchildren, who live in Nairobi, Kenya, have just found this tortoise in their garden. I'm rubbish at IDs, but it looks like a Hingeback to me, although I don't know what species. They say that they can't see a line of a hinge going over the shell -- only the two cracks on either side just were the carapace meets the plastron -- but the shape looks very Hingback to me, although no idea of species.
Nina
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Sandy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:30 pm

It is a hinge back Nina:0)
Hope you are keeping well:0)
I am not sure which one though, as my knowledge on these is limited:0)
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Nina » Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:37 pm

Hi Sandy,
Great to hear from you, and good to know that my instincts were right. Hope you are well and that all your torts are thriving!
I would love to know which species of Hingeback this is, so if anyone else knows the species that would be great.

Nina
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby tortydat » Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:44 pm

Hello Nina
If I was going to take a guess I would have said Belliana as I believe they are the ones with the brightest pattern on the carapace. Hope all well with you and TTT.

Mary
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Nina » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:05 pm

Hi Mary,

Great to hear from you! I was thinking maybe it could be Belliana, but only because that is one of the most common Hingebacks in Kenya -- so it's good to know that you think the colouring indicates Belliana as well. In some of the photos it looks a bit redder than it actually is, but that is because it has some soil on the shell, and the soil there is quite red. The grandchildren will be delighted to know what species it is!

All is well with me and the TTT (a bit like the Forth Bridge -- just finish writing one entry and suggestions for ten more entries pop up, but it's always interesting). Hope all is well with you too!

Nina
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Sandy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:26 pm

Nina wrote:Hi Mary,

Great to hear from you! I was thinking maybe it could be Belliana, but only because that is one of the most common Hingebacks in Kenya -- so it's good to know that you think the colouring indicates Belliana as well. In some of the photos it looks a bit redder than it actually is, but that is because it has some soil on the shell, and the soil there is quite red. The grandchildren will be delighted to know what species it is!

All is well with me and the TTT (a bit like the Forth Bridge -- just finish writing one entry and suggestions for ten more entries pop up, but it's always interesting). Hope all is well with you too!

Nina

The TTT keeps you out of mischief Nina:0)
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Nina » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:30 pm

LOL -- yes, and as you know, I am in great need of something to keep me out of mischief! :-)
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Stuart » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:00 pm

I would agree that it is kinixys Belliana. I have one specimen of k.b.nogueyi. Much darker, but very similar body shape and scutes. As for the “hinge” - not easy to see! Even though mine remains very shy, even after years of captivity, it seems reluctant to make use of the hinge mechanism. I think it runs up from the reasonably obvious side “creases”, then in front of the side scutes above the fold, and in front of the first scute that lies forward of the caudal scute. (There are probably names for allthe scutes, but I can’t remember them!)
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Nina » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:40 pm

Thanks so much for the confirmation, Stuart. They don't know how long this tortoise has been in the garden (they just moved in a week or so ago), but my grandchildren said that they think the garden is pretty escape proof, so it might have been there for quite a while. A few years ago, in a previous house in Nairobi they had a resident adult Leopard tortoise in their garden (they had a very large grassed area, so it was ideal). I had to explain to them that this tortoise requires a much more varied diet than the Leopard did, but presumably if it has been living happily there for a while so I guess its needs are being met.

You're right -- it is very difficult to see the hinge and it doesn't seem to follow a straight line over the top of the carapace, as I had thought. My ten-year old grandson is very patient with animals and I imagine he will just lie quietly on the ground until he sees the hinge put to use. Am I right in thinking that in some of those photos I posted, where the rear of the shell is curved quite sharply downward, covering pretty much all of the rear of the tortoise, that the hinge was deployed then -- or is that just its normal shape?
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Re: Tortoise in Kenya -- ID?

Postby Stuart » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:07 pm

Nina wrote: Am I right in thinking that in some of those photos I posted, where the rear of the shell is curved quite sharply downward, covering pretty much all of the rear of the tortoise, that the hinge was deployed then -- or is that just its normal shape?


Yes, I think so. I hadn't noticed all the other photos until now! (Now I'm thinking that the hinge may be behind the scutes I thought, and not to the front of them - Maybe I should observe mine more closely too!) . But what a beautiful carapace. My kbn is rather dull compared with that one.

Interesting confirmation that they share habitat with Leopard Tortoises.
Stuart
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