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

Quotes

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.

Courtney

Did You Know?

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

Facts

Origin

Central and southern Africa

Habitat

Grassland, thorny scrub, savannah

Size

About 16-18 inches long, average of 40 pounds

Diet

Grasses, fruit, succulent plants

Predators

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.

Reproduction

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

Status

Least Concern

Life Expectancy

Up to 75 years

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
MENU