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Ploughshare (Angonoka) Tortoise
The Ploughshare (Angonoka) tortoise is an endangered species of tortoise that lives in tropical grasslands and dry scrub forests of northwestern Madagascar. These tortoises are on the verge of extinction due to habitat loss and pigs (who eat the tortoise’s eggs).
Anatomy: The Angonoka tortoise has a hard, brown, highly-domed upper shell (the carapace) which is up to about 17 inches (43 cm) long. Males are larger than females.
Behavior: There is a horn-like (plow-shaped) projection on the plastron (lower shell) between the front legs. When males fight other males, they use this projection to ram and overturn their opponent.
Diet: The Angonoka tortoise is an herbivore (plant eater). It eats grasses, herbs, and a wide variety of plants.
Reproduction: The female lays 3 to 6 white, spherical eggs in each clutch (a group of eggs laid together). The eggs are laid in a shallow pit that the female digs with her hind legs. She covers the eggs with soil, then abandons them. These tortoises reach maturity at about 20 years of age.
Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Chordata (animals with a notochord), Class Reptilia (reptiles), Order Chelonia (turtles, tortoises, and terrapins), Suborder Cryptodira, Family Testudinidae (many land tortoises), Genus Geochelone, Species yniphora.