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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.

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References and further reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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