Excerpt from Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides Species Profile
Description and Identification
Spider Tortoises earn their common and Latin names from the radiating carapace markings that resemble a spider’s web. The shell is a cream color, and the black pattern extends outward in all directions from the areola of each vertebral and pleural scute. Older adult specimens may lose their patterning with age and take on a uniform tan or cream color. Its head is proportionately small, with a darker brown or black color above, and the chin, neck and parts of the face are yellow. The plastron of Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides …
The Spider Tortoise is found only in the arid region of the coastal areas of southwestern Madagascar, from the coast up to 10-50 kilometres inland going as far north as Morombe. It is sympatric with the Radiated Tortoise except for …
The Spider Tortoise is found in Mikea forest habitat in the north and in communities of xerophytic spiny vegetation with low irregular rainfall. Their habitat is a biologically unique ecoregion severely threatened by unsustainable subsistence agricultural practices such as livestock …
Of tTR’s staff, Anthony is currently working with Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides (Common Spider Tortoise). In total, we have a 0.0.5 group. We hope this project continues to grow, as it is a species we all love. Another of our staff has also added the Northern subspecies, brygooi, and we hope to work with other members of the Pyxis genus in the future.
The Common Spider Tortoise, Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides appreciates an extensive list of fruits and vegetables, as well as mushrooms. Interestingly, Spider Tortoises endure extremely varying temperatures, between 43 and 108 degrees in their natural range, which can be difficult to emulate in captivity. In addition, Spiders should never be kept with any other species, however, they do not seem to require as much room as other tortoise species.
Pyxis arachnoides arachnoides is listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, which is only one small step from becoming extinct in the wild. This is due to slash and burn agriculture in native habitats and the large of amount of illegal capture and consumption of these small tortoises as a reaction to the decreasing numbers of the Radiated Tortoise family.
My 0.5 group of Spider Tortoises is very special to me. These animals were acquired through an American Zoo that has had much success with multiple Spider Tortoise species and are part of the AZA studbook, which tracks the success of captive breeding efforts to develop a species survival colony with sufficient genetic diversity. My group includes 4 CB ’11 and 1 CB ’13.
I plan on adding a male to this group in the future and breeding them years from now. If you have any questions pertaining to this species, their situation, or care, please do not hesitate to ask. I can be reached at [email protected] and always look forward to a conversation about the status of endangered turtles and tortoises.