Leopard Tortoise
Geochelone pardalis

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Chelonia
SUBORDER: Cryptodira
FAMILY: Testudinidae

SIZE:
Carapace length 28 inches

RANGE:
Central and South Africa

HABITAT:
Variably dry regions

DIET:
Wild - (Primarily herbivorous); plants and grass. (Have been known to eat bones, dry dog feces, and owl pellets)

Zoo - Fruits, lettuce, vegetables

DESCRIPTION:

  • Radiating markings in adults more or less broken into spots (leopard-like appearance); juveniles with dark-edged scutes. Carapace convex, sides decending abruptly, deeply notched.
  • Juveniles of the typical form are dull yellow, with a red-brown border. Adults are yellow with variable black markings. In some large adults the black pigment predominates, but in others black pigment is entirely absent.
  • Plastron is strongly concave in males of the typical form, but in G.p.babcocki only the posterior third is slightly concave. The tail is also longer in males.

ADAPTATIONS:
Active during the daytime, but avoids excessive heat at midday by sheltering under bushes. During the cold and dry winter months they often find shelter in unoccupied burrows. This species will usually float in water if its habitat is inundated by floods.

YOUNG:
Egg incubation takes 132 to 230 days at 30 degrees and 24 degrees Celcius, respectively.

NOTE:
Should be kept in a well-heated dry terrarium, and can be kept outdoors during warm weather periods.

REFERENCES:
The Conservation Biology of Tortoises, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, pp. 43-45
The Completely Illustrated Altas of Reptiles and Amphibians For The Aquarium, Obst, Richter, Jacob
Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. 6, Reptiles, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek