Essential Tips: How To Care for Indian Star Tortoise Properly

The Indian star tortoise is one of the most popular pets among reptile lovers. Their name and popularity come from Indian star tortoises’ unique pattern on their rounded shells. These exotic pets are well-known in the international trade. If you want to own these unique pets, you should understand tips on how to take care for Indian star tortoises properly.

How To Care for Indian Star Tortoise Properly
How To Care for Indian Star Tortoise Properly

Before you rush out and adopt your own miniature galaxy, there’s a lot to learn about keeping Indian star tortoises happy and healthy.  By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your tortoise lives a long, healthy life. So, this article will be your essential tips on how to take care for Indian star tortoises. Let’s ensure your tiny celestial friend shines brightly for years to come!

Is it good to take care for Indian star tortoise at home?

No, keeping a star tortoise at home is not a good idea. These animals are wild creatures and need to be in their natural environment to thrive. Keeping them in captivity can cause them a lot of stress and can lead to poor health. Also, Indian star tortoises require a specific diet and environment that is difficult to replicate in a home setting.

How To Care for Indian Star Tortoise Properly
Is it good to keep the star tortoise at home?

If you still want to place them at home, keep your Indian star tortoises on a tortoise table that is 4’L x 4’W or larger. It’s because tortoise tables provide your Indian tortoise needs indoors. They do well in this type of enclosure and enjoy dry circumstances. You only have to ensure that your Indian star tortoises have access to a humid microclimate, such as a moist hide.

However, it’s preferable to keep Indian star tortoises outside whenever it’s practical. With the proper knowledge and dedication, you can create a comfortable and healthy home environment for your Indian star tortoises. Here are some tips on how to take care for Indian star tortoise at home to ensure its health and happiness:

1. Provide a Warm and Humid Environment

Due to their natural habitat in India and Sri Lanka, Indian star tortoises love warm and humid environments. If you want to keep them in the enclosure, you should set the temperature at 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Moreover, decrease the temperature a bit to 75 degree Fahrenheit at night to give a “sleeping time” sign to the tortoise. Don’t forget to keep the enclosure in high humidity, approximately 70-80%. 

These conditions above are mimicking the tropical climate in their place of origin. We recommend a warm and humid environment to keep the tortoise’s body temperature regulated and prevent dehydration. Additionally, this ideal condition will prevent respiratory illnesses, which can be a common issue for Indian star tortoises.

2. Separate Dry and Wet Areas

When it comes to designing your Indian tortoise enclosure, we always recommend to separate dry and wet areas. The dry area inside the enclosure allows Indian star tortoises to bask. Meanwhile, a wet area is your tortoises’ water place. In the wet area, Indian tortoises can drink. Therefore, you have to prepare a shallow water dish in the wet area. Overall, Indian star tortoises can warm up in the sun and absorb UV rays in the dry area, while feeling cool and hydrated in the wet place. 

Now, you may be curious, why separate dry and wet areas inside one closure? Well, keeping the areas separate allows the tortoise to both rest and bath inside the enclosure. So, you can control your pet movement easily. Not to mention, it also helps to reduce the spread of disease and parasites, as they are not able to move outside these two areas.

3. Give Enough Substrate

After we set a proper closure, you must be curious on what you should put inside the Indian tortoises enclosure? We suggest preparing substrates such as soil or cypress mulch inside the enclosure. This will help to keep the humidity levels high and provide the tortoise with places to dig and hide. Plain topsoil mixed 60/40 with play sand works well as a substrate for Indian star tortoises

Moreover, the substrate provides a soft surface for the tortoise to walk on. Therefore, you can prevent shell damage on your tortoises from hard surfaces. It also helps to absorb any waste and odors in the enclosure, which helps to keep it clean and smelling fresh.

4. Provide Hiding Places

The enclosure should also provide plenty of hiding places and climbing structures. These should include rocks and logs that allow the tortoise to feel secure. Hiding spots enable the tortoises to retreat from potential predators and other potential dangers. 

These hiding places also offer the tortoises places to rest and sleep, which is especially important for juveniles who may need extra rest and safety. Therefore, you can help reduce stress in the tortoises, improving their overall physical and mental health.

5. Maintain Indian Star Tortoise Diet

The diet of the Indian star tortoise should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. This can consist of dark leafy greens, dandelions, geranium, roses, and more. To simulate foraging, feed it once per day at the same time every day from various food trays dispersed about the cage. Don’t forget that fresh water should always be available to ensure that your tortoise is appropriately hydrated.

We always emphasize that a variety of foods is essential for Indian star tortoises to fulfill their vitamins and minerals needs. Additionally, you should provide calcium and vitamin supplements to ensure that your tortoise receives the balanced and proper nutrients.

6. Handle Indian Star Tortoise with Care

The Indian Star tortoise should be handled with care and not be stressed. It is crucial to take them gently and not pick them up too often. Tortoises should also never be dropped or mishandled, as this could cause injury or even death.

By handling these animals with care, we can help ensure their long-term survival. You should always provide a comfortable and safe environment when handling a tortoise. 

How many times should I feed my Indian star tortoise?

Indian star tortoises should be fed once or twice a day, depending on their age. Juveniles should be fed once a day, while adults may be fed twice daily. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet for your tortoise is important, so feeding them the right amount of food is essential to their health and well-being.

how to care for indian star tortoise
How many times should I feed my Indian star tortoise?

To simulate foraging, feed it once per day at the same time every day from various food trays dispersed about the cage. You can either estimate the amount of food to feed as being around the size of the animal’s shell, or you can give them as much as they will eat in 15 to 30 minutes.

What is the Indian star tortoise’s favorite food?

The star tortoise is a unique and beautiful species of land tortoise that is native to India. As they are becoming popular among tortoise enthusiasts and keepers, many people want to learn how to take care for Indian star tortoises. One of the most important aspects of caring for an Indian star tortoise is to provide it with a balanced diet. But, what is an Indian star tortoise’s favorite food?

How To Care for Indian Star Tortoise Properly
Indian star tortoise’s favorite food

Indian star tortoises are herbivorous, so they need a diet high in fiber. Their diet should consist mainly of grasses and weeds (90%), with just 10% of other vegetables and “grocery store sale” greens. To give you a better explanation, let us break down what kind of food you should give to your Indian star tortoise diet.

1. Grass/Leaves

Safe grasses/leaves for Indian star tortoises are lawn grass (untreated), mulberry leaves, grape leaves, hibiscus leaves, meadow hay, oat hay, orchard hay, timothy, Bermuda, rye, clover, dandelion, nasturtium, geranium, thistle.

2. Greens/Vegetables

Safe greens and vegetables for Indian star tortoises include cactus pads, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, chicory, endive, escarole, radicchio, carrot, bell pepper, and squash.

3. Flowers

Edible flowers like nasturtium, dandelions, geranium, roses and hibiscus are great for adding variety and extra vitamins. However, fruits should be avoided or given in small amounts.

4. Supplements

You can add calcium and vitamin pills to keep your tortoise from possibly having a deficiency. We recommend you give Repashy Super Veggie lightly powdered over each meal. To make sure your tortoise is receiving adequate vitamins, give it a small amount of Mazuri grassland tortoise formula or Zoo Med Natural Grassland Tortoise Food.

Is Indian star tortoise Lucky for home?

In accordance with Hindu mythology, literature, and Vastu Shastra, keeping a live tortoise within the home is fortunate. Moreover, one of Lord Vishnu’s avatars is the tortoise. As native tortoises from India, star tortoises are regarded as lucky creatures. They are thought to represent wealth and prosperity in all their richness. 

How To Care for Indian Star Tortoise Properly
Is Indian star tortoise Lucky for home?

Moreover, the Indian star tortoise’s small size, beautiful patterns, and resilient nature are loved among pet owners. These pet owners are also considered as lucky as Indian star tortoises are a low-maintenance pet that need minimal care and attention. Plus, an Indian star tortoise can live for many years, making it a lucky animal that can be passed onto future generations.

Indian Star Tortoise Common Health Problems

indian Star Tortoise Common Health Problems
Indian Star Tortoise Common Health Problems

The Indian star tortoises are popular pets in the reptile community due to their unique appearance and relatively easy care requirements. While the Indian Star Tortoise is generally a hardy species, there are some common health problems that owners should be aware of.

1. Shell Rot

Shell rot is a common health issue in Indian star tortoises. It is caused by bacteria or fungus that feed on the soft tissues of the shell, leaving it weakened and prone to damage. 

Shell rot can be prevented by providing a dry environment and avoiding waterlogged conditions. If not treated promptly, shell rot can cause permanent damage to the shell and even death.

2. Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are another common health issue in Indian star tortoises. These infections are usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection in the tortoise’s lungs and can be deadly if left untreated. 

Respiratory infection symptoms include wheezing, labored breathing, and mucus production. Treatment may involve antibiotics and other medications.

3. Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic bone disease (MBD) is caused by an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in the tortoises’ diet. Typically, bone deformities and softening of the shell occur. This usually can happen if your Indian star tortoises don’t consume enough high calcium food sources. However, if you provide a balanced diet to your Indian star tortoise, we can prevent your tortoise from suffering this disease. 

Therefore, we suggest you give your tortoises various fresh and nutritious foods. Remember that their diet should contain dark leafy greens, flowers, and vegetables. You can also vary their diet with small amounts of fruits. Additionally, provide a source of ultraviolet light in the Indian star tortoise’s closure. Regular basking with natural sunlight or a UVB lamp can provide the necessary amount of vitamin D to absorb calcium. Plus, you can supplement their food with additional calcium products.


The Indian star tortoise is a unique and captivating species that are popular among pet owners. Although they don’t require special care, understanding the basics on how to take care for Indian star tortoise can be a very rewarding experience. 

Remember to provide a proper diet and environment when taking care of Indian star tortoises. Understanding several health problems that your tortoise can suffer and how to prevent them is also important. By learning these essential tips above, we hope you Indian star tortoise can live a long and healthy life for many years.

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Do Indian star tortoises bite?

No, Indian star tortoises do not bite. They are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants. In fact, they are gentle creatures by nature. They may try to nip if they feel threatened, but they rarely bite. Although they don’t often bite, they might nip if they mistake a brilliantly colored toenail or fingernail for a flower petal.

How do you take care of an Indian tortoise?

To take care of an Indian tortoise, it is crucial to set a habitat that is similar to its natural environment. Simply give your tortoise a warm and humid environment and separate the warm and dry area. You should also give your Indian tortoises fresh vegetables, fruits, and grasses to fulfill the daily vitamins and minerals needs.

Besides, we always recommend cleaning its enclosure regularly. Don’t forget to take your Indian tortoise to the veterinarian for regular health checks. Taking care of an Indian tortoise’s sanitary and health is vital to ensure its long and happy life.

How do you give Indian star tortoise water?

Indian star tortoises should be given water in shallow dishes, as they are prone to drowning. The water should be changed daily, and the plate should be checked for algae growth, as algae can become toxic. The water should also be shallow enough that the tortoise can easily reach the surface to breathe.

Moreover, the water dish is not typically offered indoors. Instead, you should give the tortoise a once-weekly dip in lukewarm water, where it will drink and frequently urinate. If you do provide a shallow water dish, make sure to maintain it clean and replace the water as often as required.

How long do Indian star tortoises live for?

In the wild, Indian star tortoises can live for around 35-55 years on average. However, a few can live up to 80 years old. Meanwhile, in captivity, they usually only live up to 25 years. If you want to own this pet, learn some tips on how to take care for Indian star tortoises in the article above.

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