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In fact, instead of hiding in its shell for protection, the pancake tortoise is able to quickly flee from danger. The flexibility of this shell allows pancake tortoises to crawl into narrow rock crevices, allowing them to use a habitat that is not suitable for any other tortoise. Unfortunately, these peculiar adaptations make this species sought after for the illegal pet trade, making them vulnerable to extinction.

This species dwells in the arid savannas and scrublands of East Africa. They also like kojpe habitat, which consists of rocky outcrops. They are found living is isolated colonies. Pancake tortoises are native to southern Kenya, and northern and eastern Tanzania. An introduced population is found in Zimbabwe.

Pancake tortoises feast on dry grasses and most other vegetation in the wild. They will take advantage of fallen fruit, and even indulge on succulents such as aloe.

This species is most active in the morning and early evening. This is when they venture out to find food and bask in the sun for warmth. They never stray too far away from their shelter. They only surface from rocky crevices for an hour or so at a time, to stay safe from danger.

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