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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 into 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.


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Central and southern Africa

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Grassland, thorny scrub, savannah

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About 16–18 inches long | 40 pounds on avg.

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Grasses, fruit, succulent plants

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Eggs preyed upon by small predators. Adults preyed on by lions.

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Natural Defenses

Able to pull entire body into shell or release their bowel

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5–7 clutches of up to 30 eggs per clutch

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Least Concern

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Life Expectancy

Up to 75 years

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