Giant 30 Lb Sri Lankan Star found This week!!!

kingsley

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I have roamed the wilds of Sri Lanka all my life looking for Star Tortoises, listend to many a tails from villagers about the giants that used to roam but now they are gone!!! some of you have followed my posts in the past of my quest searching for these giants in the coastal areas , cloud forests and inland dry zones, and donated pints of blood to huge mosquitos!!!.I have been to every corner of this tranquil island that I hail from but i was not expecting this at all. WE HAVE A GIANT!!! This huge specimen was collected by one of our team members just last week, I am so excited and in the process of making travel plans, permits etc to conduct a full blown field study. this exciting finding is in the process of being published now. The gentlemen holding the specimen is Dr Ansle De silva who is a good friend .
image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
 

Markw84

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That is unbelievable! And it looks to be male - which are normally smaller!! Please continue to update as you learn more - e. g. was it in an extremely remote area where it could live undetected for these years? (I assume it is the same one reported in the Sri Lanka Times, but I know nothing of the Lunugamvehera Park area) or, possible a semi-captive that was well fed and escaped? Will you do some genetic testing to see if it is really a giant sub-species, or just a huge example of the known species?

The difference in size is amazing vs what is otherwise seen. What is the largest you have seen other than this? I've heard of the record being 38 cm - but that was a female!
 

kingsley

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Markw 84 ,it is the same animal in the SL times, lunugamvehara is a national park and no chance of this animal being captive. I am not aware of any food that would get an animal this large in captivity. I will keep you all posted of any new developments.
 

Sisypha

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It's interesting to note that, despite this handsome fellow's "0% chance of having been in captivity" (if I interpret the statement correctly), he still shows signs of "pyramiding" - a condition yet to be fully explained but generally associated with rapid growth from a CAPTIVE, overly proteinaceous diet, possibly aggravated by inadequate or simply incorrect frequency of exposure to humidity. I've noticed that captive bred/long-term captive Star and Radiated torts (and Leopard torts to a slightly lesser extent) seem more susceptible to pyramiding than other torts, but seem to maintain their smooth shells in the wild. I wonder whether the metabolic differences that make this big boy one of Sri Lanka's "Giant Stars" might not also throw more light on the causes for pyramiding in general?? Just a thought, since there is so much left to learn about shell and bone metabolism in all tortoises!
 

counting

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It's interesting to note that, despite this handsome fellow's "0% chance of having been in captivity" (if I interpret the statement correctly), he still shows signs of "pyramiding" - a condition yet to be fully explained but generally associated with rapid growth from a CAPTIVE, overly proteinaceous diet, possibly aggravated by inadequate or simply incorrect frequency of exposure to humidity. I've noticed that captive bred/long-term captive Star and Radiated torts (and Leopard torts to a slightly lesser extent) seem more susceptible to pyramiding than other torts, but seem to maintain their smooth shells in the wild. I wonder whether the metabolic differences that make this big boy one of Sri Lanka's "Giant Stars" might not also throw more light on the causes for pyramiding in general?? Just a thought, since there is so much left to learn about shell and bone metabolism in all tortoises!
But aren't stars one of the tortoises in which pyramiding is sometimes found in wild populations? (some suggest it's related to making the pattern stand out).
 

domalle

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But aren't stars one of the tortoises in which pyramiding is sometimes found in wild populations? (some suggest it's related to making the pattern stand out).
That animal is a classically beautiful well-traveled wild specimen. The conical scutes on 'elegans' are naturally occurring.
I share kingsley's excitement and thank him for the post.
Specimens of G. elegans raised in captivity however often display 'unnatural' shell formation and pyramiding due to other factors
of care, feeding and culture.
 

BeeBee*BeeLeaves

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Thank you for sharing such amazing wonderful news with us.
What a beauty! How exciting that you will field study further.
I hope more wonderful comes from this first find.

The pyramiding almost seems to be in unison with the shell color, patterns. Interesting.
 

bouaboua

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WOW! ! !

Thank you for sharing this news with us. What a find in the wild. And so glad that they are still exist.
 

counting

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That animal is a classically beautiful well-traveled wild specimen. The conical scutes on 'elegans' are naturally occurring.
I share kingsley's excitement and thank him for the post.
Specimens of G. elegans raised in captivity however often display 'unnatural' shell formation and pyramiding due to other factors
of care, feeding and culture.
Thank you! I thought I'd read that they sometimes had "bumpy" shells, and that it was natural and healthy in wild specimens. I don't know how else to describe it other than "pyramiding".

And yes, this tort and discovery is very neat!
 

Markw84

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But aren't stars one of the tortoises in which pyramiding is sometimes found in wild populations? (some suggest it's related to making the pattern stand out).
My personal conclusions are that both stars and leopards are tortoises that now inhabit parts of their range that are subject to drought conditions some years. Rains come and encourage good food sources, but some years will dry very soon and cause good tortoise growth during dry periods. Also some, as in this case here, are now in areas that are indeed prone to drought, but now have reservoirs providing water, and good plant growth in dry seasons that naturally would not have this type of water available. This tortoise is a great example. Found in the Lunugamvehera Park, that was created to protect the reservoirs and watershed there as well as the wildlife. This area is now dominated by the Lunugamvehera Reservoir. So we have growth in dry conditions that normally would not have happened without the additions of reservoirs.
 

kingsley

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Most specimens we have collected are pyramided in SL, a few exceptions towards the very northwestern coastal area that are unique to the region, here are some pics. The first pic is the north west (coastal area)area , the second is north central 100 killometers from the coast, and the3rd is western region just 40 killometers from the coast. image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
 

Neal

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This is absolutely incredible, and it looks like it has fresh growth coming in too. Just looking at it's shell and the inconsistent growth rings, I can only speculate about what sort of life it's had. If tortoises could speak I would love to hear the stories this one would tell.

I'd like to see the tail before going all in, but it looks like a female to me judging from the supracaudal and plastron. The picture on the SL times shows a classic female shape as well.

Can't wait to learn more about it.
 

tortadise

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Wow! That is beyond words. Just incredible. So question, what's the future hold for this animal? Will IT be released or kept at a facility and tested? Just excellent.
 
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