Before committing to getting this tortoise, consider more than just the beautiful looks of this sizeable tortoise; it is long-lived, requires a lot of space, and has specific needs. Or, if you have four turtles, then the ever-popular "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" foursome might be an obvious choice. About 50 to 80 percent of their diet should be comprised of high-fiber grasses and greens. In exceptional cases, a leopard tortoise can exceed 40 kg and have a carapace length of 750 mm. Leopard tortoises thrive in direct sunlight. When mating, the male makes grunting vocalizations. Leopard tortoise, mountain tortoise (Eng. It is still legal to breed and own captive, domestic leopard tortoises. They need a large living space, protection from cool temperatures, and a varied, nutritious diet. & Mertz, L. 2006. While a larger tortoise may mistake a finger for food, leopard tortoises are not known for biting people. This is a generalist tortoise that is found in a variety of habitats including karroid fynbos in the south, mesic thicket, arid and mesic savannah, thorn scrub and grasslands from sea level to over 2 900 m. When translocated from their homes, both sexes are known to undertake long return journeys (25–50 km). The flattened and serrated hatchling’s carapace is yellow with central paired or single black spots that are joined together. Succulent Karoo Programme In the central savannahs of East Africa, a maximum size of 300–450 mm is reached and a weight of nearly 13 kg. As cold-blooded creatures, all reptiles need to regulate their body temperature. This potentially fatal condition results from an imbalance in the tortoise's phosphorous-to-calcium ratio. They are widespread throughout the savannahs of Africa, from southern Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia southward through East Africa to the Eastern Cape and Karoo, westward to southern Angola and Namibia. Please do not keep wild tortoises as pets as this is a thoughtless and selfish act. Released captives are found in areas such as the southwestern Cape and the former Transkei, adjacent KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho, from which they are historically absent. During the summer months they are active when food is optimal, so that they can build up their food reserves for the long, dry winter. Conservation status and what the future holds. The male will grip the female’s carapace by using his forelimbs and the concave plastron assists to keep him in position. Biodiversity Science, Report complaints on environmental and/or social harms and gender discrimination arising from SANBI’s activities. March 2015. 2003. Their eyes are well developed and they have good eyesight. The rule of thumb is to offer a quantity of roughly the size of the tortoise's shell. [2] This tortoise is a grazing species that favors semi-arid, thorny to grassland habitats. Branch, B. [5], The carapace is high and domed with steep, almost vertical sides. They can be found at altitudes ranging from sea level to 2,900 meters (9,500 ft). Genetic studies show that Stigmochelys is closely related to the Psammobates species of southern Africa. Their daily diet should consist primarily of timothy grass or hay. If you’re interested in pet tortoises, check out: Otherwise, check out all of our other tortoise profiles. Change the newspaper liner frequently. Incubation will take 8–15 months depending on temperature. Most pet owners use a substrate or bedding to line the bottom of an enclosure. Karoo Desert NBG They do not fancy frequently handling. It is the only member of the genus Stigmochelys, although in the past it was commonly placed in Geochelone. Leopard tortoises do not only vary markedly in adult size, there is also variation in the shape of the carapace (the upper section of the shell), and the degree of patterning and coloration. Another common and painful condition among tortoises is shell rot, which is caused by a fungal infection. The specific epithet pardalis is derived from the Greek word pardos meaning ‘spotted’ after the spotted shell. Tortoise hatchlings, for their first months of life, should remain housed indoors away from predators. They push into thick bush to escape the heat of the day. Leopard tortoises do not dig other than to make nests in which to lay eggs. Sex and Life cycles Read about SANBI’s two Plants of the Week, Find out more about South Africa’s extraordinarily rich and diverse plant life as SANBI’s horticulturists and botanists highlight two new […], Gargaphia decoris, the bugweed lace bug, is originally from Brazil and Argentina in South America. & Parham J.F. Being toothless, tortoises shear through succulent grass with the aid of a horny beak. Scientific Name: Stigmochelys pardal, Stigmochelys pardalis pardalis, Stigmochelys pardalis babcocki, Adult Size: 10 and 18 inches long, weighing 40 to 50 pounds. The forelimbs are armoured with large, irregularly shaped spiny scales and there are 2–3 buttock tubercles on each hind limb. These medical conditions are treatable by an exotics veterinarian who specializes in reptiles. The genus name Stigmochelys is a combination of the Greek words stigma meaning ‘marked’ and chelone meaning ‘tortoise’. Small 20-year-old leopard tortoise eating, Retracted forelegs of adult female leopard tortoise, Leopard tortoise digging a hole to lay eggs, Leopard tortoise closing hole with eggs in, Phylogenetic arrangement of turtles based on, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Turtles of the world, 7th edition: annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution with maps, and conservation status", "Tortoise Trust Web - Observations on Dehydration in Reptiles", IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, turtles of the world 2017 update: Annotated checklist and atlas of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status,, Taxonbars with automatically added original combinations, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 August 2020, at 20:08.