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LEOPARD TORTOISE

Scientific Name: Stigmochelys pardalis
Order
Testudines (tortoises and turtles)

Family
Testunidae (tortoises)

Habitat & Range
The leopard tortoise can be found in the savannas of southeastern Africa. They favor semi-arid grassland habitats, but can occasionally be found in wetter environments.

Identification
Leopard tortoises are a large and attractively marked species. A typical adult measures 18 inches in length and weighs up to 40 pounds. The shell is highly domed with pyramid-like scutes. The base color is cream with a black pattern that ranges between spots, dashes and stripes.

Diet
Fitting to their habitat, leopard tortoises are herbivorous grazers. They feed mostly on mixed grasses, succulents, thistles and fruit from prickly pear cacti.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Sexual maturity is reached between the ages of 12 and 15 years. Females lay clutches of 5 to 18 eggs in a nest that have an incubation period of approximately 135 days. Once she is finished building the nest, she leaves and will have no further interaction with her young. Hatching is most successful when clutches are laid in an environment resembling the leopard tortoise’s natural habitat.

The leopard tortoise has a remarkable lifespan of 80 to 100 years.

 
 
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