The Impressed Tortoise is a ra tortoise found in Asia. Very little is known about this animal, either in the wild or in captivity.
Impressed Tortoises are primarily herbivores and get most of their food by grazing. It is believed that in the wild Impressed Tortoises eat grasses, bamboo sprouts, and fruits. They live in forested areas of low to moderate humidity. This Tortoise is considered one of the two most primitive tortoises alive today.
Growing up to slightly over 12 inches (30.5 cm), but rarely exceeding 11 inches (28cm) in carapace length, the Impressed Tortoise is a moderately sized tortoise. They have a somewhat flattened appearance when compared to the Asian Brown Tortoise, a close relative. The marginals of the Impressed Tortoise are serrated and they have one conical spur on each leg. These spurs have given the tortoise the Vietnamese name "rua sen," meaning "three tailed tortoise." The carapace, or top shell, of the Impressed Tortoise is usually reddish brown, and the border scutes are indented. They often have darker or lighter markings near the edges. The plastron, or underside of the shell, also has dark markings. These markings fade as the animal matures and older animals may not have any visible markings. The limbs are covered in large scales that overlap each other and are brown in color. The head is yellow. Male Impressed Tortoises can be distinguished from females by their darker color, longer tail, and the presence of a caudal spur.
In 1931, Smith stated that the Impressed Tortoise could be found in Burma, Siam (now Thailand), Annam, Tonkin, and the Malay Peninsula. Today, little more is known about the range of this animal. In 1974, an Impressed Tortoise was found in China. This animal was probably purchased from an animal dealer. In 1986, another specimen was found outside its range, near Shaoyang in the Hunan Province. It is believed, however, that this animal was introduced to the area and is not native there.