Leopard Tortoise

Stigmochelys pardalis

Africa's Other Leopard

The leopard tortoise is one of the most widely distributed tortoises in Africa.

About the Species

The leopard tortoise has a yellow and black patterned shell and lives in the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa. These tortoises are common in the pet trade.

These herbivores are important seed dispersers, as the seed passes intact through their digestive system. They are most active during the morning and just before sundown due to the extreme temperatures in their native habitat. Depending on the latitude, the mating season is between May and June, or October and November. During this time, males have been known to be aggressive and ram their competition.

Words From the Experts


These tortoises are from Africa, though our leopard tortoise is visiting the South American habitat. The leopard tortoise gets its name from the beautiful leopard-like spots that covers its shell.


Did You Know?

Africa supports more land tortoises than anywhere else in the world.



Central and southern Africa


Grassland, thorny scrub, savannah


About 16-18 inches long, average of 40 pounds


Grasses, fruit, succulent plants


Eggs and hatchlings may be preyed upon by lizards, snakes, birds and some mammals. Adults are only been preyed upon by lions.

Natural Defenses

Leopard tortoises are able to pull their entire body into their shell or release their bowel to protect themselves.


Females lay 5-7 clutches of up to 30 eggs.


Least Concern

Life Expectancy

Up to 75 years

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