Pancakes are one of the few arid habitat tortoises that thrive in vivariums, although a well set-up tortoise table would be fine for them as well. They need a good source of UVB and a basking area large enough for them to expose their whole shells to the hot spot, rather than just a small area. They are also happy to live in groups, unlike many other species.
Feeding is relatively simple for them as long as you follow a few common sense rules. They do very well on a weed based diet, high in fibre and calcium, low in protein and phosphorous. Avoid fruit, and any greens high in oxalic acid (such as spinach) or goitrogens – chemicals that cause gout (most of the brassica family, cabbages, kale and so on). These food items are fine as a treat, but should be avoided on a regular basis. Plain calcium should be dusted on every feed, with a good quality multivitamin/multimineral powder added twice a week. Pancake tortoises feed enthusiastically, and seem to prefer to eat in the morning; they like to spend most of the day tucked up in their hides, but once they’re settled they will emerge to investigate whenever anyone comes near their home.
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