The Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) is a high-domed land reptile from Africa. It is a chelonian (all turtles, terrapins and tortoises are chelonians).
The Leopard Tortoise has a high-domed carapace (shell) with nearly vertical sides and a V-shaped notch at the front of its shell. It has a background yellow or yellow-brown colour with dark brown or black spots in a leopard-like pattern. Its head, legs, and tail are yellow-brown.
It grows to 30-45 centimetres (12-18 inches) long.
The Leopard Tortoise is common across eastern and southern Africa. It prefers wooded savannahs, open grasslands, marshes, and thorny scrublands. It tends to hide in grass and thick vegetation.
It eats succulent plants with a high liquid content, such as fruit, thistles, prickly pear cactus, grass, fungi and other plants.
Females dig a burrow in the ground to lay 5-30 round, white eggs at three-week intervals for up to 20 weeks. Eggs hatch a year later.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM