Burmese Black Mountain Tortoise are considered the most prehistoric tortoises alive today. Their ancient look combined with their outgoing personalities have kept them a popular tortoise in the more humid Southern states. They are a large tortoise, considered by many to be the 4th largest tortoise in the world, just behind the sulcata tortoises of Africa. Somewhat of a flattened tortoise, they are born a somewhat brown color and darken to black in their first few years.
Habitat: The Burmese Black Mountain Tortoise prefer heavily planted enclosures with heavily shaded areas. They don’t handle weather extremes very well, and should ideally be kept between about 60-95 degrees. Moderate to high humidity is preferred by them, and they like shallow water dishes of pools to soak and drink in. They do not truly hibernate, but will go through a winter slow down period during cooler weather and shortened daylengths. As adults, they can safely handle body temperatures as low as 50 degrees at night as long as they are able to heat up into the 70’s during the day. Summer highs up to 95 degrees can be tolerated as long as there is a cooler, shaded retreat the tortoise can get into. Moisture is not a problem in warmer temperatures (a cool mud hole on a hot day), but in cooler weather and on cold nights, the tortoises should be kept more dry. An example of how we are raising babies is shown at the bottom of this page.
Diet: Little is known about this species natural diet, but do well in captivity on a diet similar to a redfoot tortoise. We offer them a broad range of leafy greens, Mazuri tortoise diet, vegetables and a small amount of fruit. They will eat small amounts of meat sources, although this is probably not needed in captivity if they are getting the needed nutrients from other sources.
Adult Behavior: Burmese Black Mountain Tortoise Often referred to as the “puppy dogs” of the tortoise world, Burmese mountain tortoises have a long standing reputation as friendly tortoises that are very interactive with their owners. Because of their eventual size, this species should only be considered by someone in a humid climate (or someone that can create a humid climate) ideally in a Southern state where this large animal can be maintained most or all of the year outside. It is not easy or reasonable to house them indoors long term, or over a long winter. Burmese Black Mountain Tortoise love rain during warm weather, and will become more active during rainfall. The Burmese Black Mountain Tortoise are also the only tortoise to “build nests,” much like an alligator will. They will gather leaves, branches and debris from around their enclosure (over the course of weeks) and build a large mound, then lay eggs within the pile, and defend it for some time afterwards. They also lay large clutches of eggs, with reports of up to 70 eggs in a single clutch!