Leopard Tortoise

Leopard Tortoise. Graham Cooke
Leopard Tortoise. Graham Cooke


Vital Statistics

Name
Leopard Tortoise [Stigmochelys pardalis] still classified by some as [Geochelone pardalis]
Class
Reptilia
Order
Testudines
Family
Testudinidae
Subspecies
Western Leopard Tortoise [Stigmochelys pardalis pardalis] and Eastern Leopard Tortoise [Stigmochelys pardalis babcocki]
Length_F
750 mm
Length_M
300 - 450 mm

Description

They may exceed 700 mm in length and 40 kg in weight. The carapace is domed and not hinged, with scutes only faintly raised. The nuchal is absent. The beak is sometimes hooked, is unicuspid and often serrated.

Distribution

Found throughout the savannas of Africa, from Sudan to Southern Cape. Historically absent from South Western Cape and from former Transkei, adjacent Kwa-Zulu Natal, and Lesotho, but now introduced in some areas.

Breeding

Females usually lay 6 - 15 large, hard-shelled eggs. The hole, in which she lays her eggs, are refilled and the female may tamp down the soil by lifting and dropping her shell regularly on the spot. Hatchlings weigh 23 - 50 g and measure 40 - 50 mm.

Diet

The diet of the Leopard Tortoise includes plants including grasses, annuals and succulents. They also gnaw bones and hyaena faeces.



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