Flap Jack (our pancake tortoise)

Today I learned that Flapjacks aren’t just pancakes. They are thick pancakes in America and Canada, but in Western Europe they are oat bars, i.e. granola type bars, made with oats and honey.

Personally I had always thought flapjacks to be very thin, but sturdy, the building blocks of pancakes as it were. You know, the stack of flapjacks you heard about in the Paul Bunyan stories when you were a kid. Wrong on all counts apparently.

Either way though, in America, the term flapjack does mean a type of pancake. So when we got our pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) it was only appropriate that we name him Flapjack.

Flapjack loves to sleep. When he sleeps he gets all spread out. It is adorable.

Flapjack is from Kenya, well his kind/species is from Kenya and Tanzania, Flapjack was in fact captive bred. They are one of the fastest tortoises, which surprised me, I mean I have never really seen a turtle or tortoise walk until we had flapjack, but I had heard rumors of their pace. When flapjack wonders around the floor, he really cruises. I was shocked!! All this talk about turtles and tortoises being slow is ridiculous, look at this guy go!!! I think I need to expand my research now.

They like rocks a lot and usually make their homes in tight spaces in between rocks. That is why they are called pancake tortoises, they are very flat and able to wedge themselves into small spaces for protection. It is due to this that their shells are pliable, meaning bendy. You can definitely see this on their stomachs. Well, sort of.

(F.J. was not happy about this picture)

As you can see from the sleeping picture above and the one below, Flapjack has long arms and legs. These are helpful in being able to climb very well. In the wild they can climb almost vertical rock surfaces and are strong enough to flip themselves over, like a…well, pancake, if they get overturned. It has happened to flapjack many a time. Once he even fell on his little head hole, it wasn’t his head because he pulled that in, just in the neck of time. Ha, get it? Neck of time?? Anyway, we have lots of petrified wood he likes to rearrange in his enclosure. When he gets bigger and we have more room, we will get rocks and such that he can climb on.

Pure Comfort. Mind the nails, they need trimming.

They are great fun, but don’t do particularly well in humid environments. We first got Flapjack a couple of years ago, after he was a small hatchling. We were living in a drafty house in humid Michigan. It seems to have stunted his growth just slightly. After we moved him to Colorado his appetite grew immensely. He loves the dry climate and has been growing steadily. He looks to be in great shape, aside from the lengthy nails.

He is adorable and we are putting him on a new diet. A feed him every day diet. We have been holding off a little, as to not over feed him, but after seeing another of his kind, a year older which is feed every day, we figured we should start feeding him a little more. We usually do every other day. Since they are big pieces of greens in relation to his size.

We still have a lot to learn about him. Bug has only kept a handful of turtles and tortoises over the years, but I do love them. Snug does too. A great resource I have been using for flapjack has been Chelonia.org. They have a great page on Pancake Tortoises and care for them.

One last thing……here are some more adorable pictures of Flapjack drinking water!!! Tortoises drink water!!! (I mean, ahem….why wouldn’t they….everyone knows that)

Ahh! Look at the bubbles!

I am done. I promise.

P.S. This is the only reptile my mom likes.

P.P.S. We assume Flapjack is a boy, it is still unconfirmed.


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