The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Leopard Tortoise

Afrikaans name: Bergskilpad

Leopard Tortoise

Leopard Tortoise

Photo © Steven Herbert

Geochelone pardalis

Sometimes called a Mountain Tortoise or a Bergskilpad in Afrikaans.

These tortoises can grow to a size of 45 cm and may weigh 12 to 13 kg. Some individuals have been measured up to 70 cm and 45 kg! That's a big tortoise.

The Leopard Tortoise gets its name from its spotted shell.

The Leopard Tortoise is found in a wide variety of habitats and at a wide range of altitudes.

These tortoises feed off many different species of plants. They are known to eat hyena faeces and bones which are thought to provide calcium which aids the development of their shells.

Tortoises are not very active during the heat of the day and during cold weather.

Female tortoises lay up to 15 eggs in a hole which she digs with her back legs.

References and further reading

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 209

The Reptiles of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar, WD Haacke and NHG Jacobsen - Published: 1983 - Page: 20

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 81

The South African Tortoise Book - Author: RC Boycott and O Bourquin - Published: 1988 - Page: 86

Tortoises, Terrapins & Turtles of Africa - Author: Bill Branch - Published: 2008 - Page: 66

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 64

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 254

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 71

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 166

Sasol First Field Guide to Snakes & other Reptiles of Southern Africa - 2nd edit - Author: Tracey Hawthorne - Published: 2016 - Page: 10

Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Rod Patterson and Anothony Bannister - Published: 1987 - Page: 18

Questions and Answers - Snakes and Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: John Comrie-Greig - Published: 1992 - Page: 30

Reptiles & Amphibians of Southern Africa - Author: Warren Schmidt - Published: 2006 - Page: 79

Questions and Answers - Snakes and Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: John Comrie-Greig - Published: 1992 - Page: 16

Questions and Answers - Snakes and Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: John Comrie-Greig - Published: 1992 - Page: 11

A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast - Author: R. Lubke, F. Gess & M. Bruton - Published: 1988 - Page: 255

A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Graham Alexander and Johan Marais - Published: 2007 - Page: 386

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 116

Bill Branchs Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Bill Branch - Published: 1988 - Page: 26

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 174

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 190

Getaway - Vol 22 No 12 - Author: - Published: 2011 - Page: 31

go! - Issue 190 - Author: - Published: 2023 - Page: 116

Questions and Answers - Snakes and Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: John Comrie-Greig - Published: 1992 - Page: 10


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