Last Stand of the Madagascan Spider Tortoise

Sep 6, 2012
The Reptile Report
by Robyn

The Reptile Report - The spider tortoise – one of the rarest tortoises in the world – is the equivalent of a microwave meal for the Mikea, a hardy Madagascan forest tribe.

The method is simple: bury tortoise in heated sand, wait 20 minutes, slurp superheated innards.

“It even comes in its own bowl,” explains Solo, a seasoned tortoise hunter, although, he adds, “It’s hard to get big or fat or full from eating such small animals.”

Due to the Mikea and a slew of other threats, the spider tortoise is hurtling towards extinction. Could a newly identified population rescue them from the brink or are the odds against them too high?

Under a worst case scenario, scientists calculate that spider tortoises could disappear in a matter of a few decades: less than a single tortoise’s lifespan.

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