Impressed tortoises have a somewhat flattened carapace, or shell, with a strongly serrated edge. Their name comes from the shape of their scutes, which are impressed or indented, rather than the traditional dome shape. The scutes are a pale yellowish brown color that radiates out to a dark brown.
This tortoise’s limbs and tail are dark brown or black, while its head is yellowish. Some have a pinkish coloring on the snout.
Its carapace can grow over 12 inches (31 centimetres) long and has a strongly serrated edge.
Impressed tortoises live in evergreen and bamboo forests in the hills and mountains across Asia. They are known to live in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, with possible range into China.
The impressed tortoise is believed to be more predominantly terrestrial, spending most of its time under leaves on the forest floor. It is found in thick evergreen forests or bamboo thickets located on hills or mountains.
Recent studies suggest that these tortoises feed almost exclusively on mushrooms, although they may also eat other vegetation.
At the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, they eat mixed greens, pellets and mushrooms.
Reproduction and Development
Evidence suggests that mating season is mid-March to September, the same as the rainy season. A courting male bobs his head up and down while opening and closing his mouth. If a female is receptive, she will raise her body. Males will stretch their necks and vocalize during copulation.
One study observed 17 eggs being laid in a shallow cavity and covered with leaves. In human care, females have been known to guard the eggs and continuously add additional nesting material. Hatch lings have been reported as having carapaces 2 inches (50 millimetres) long.
Available information suggests that these tortoises are most active at dusk, twilight and when it is raining.