Leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis) is the world’s fourth largest tortoise species. It is a large and long-lived species of tortoise that is present on southern and eastern regions of Africa. From the genus Stigmochelys, leopard tortoise is the only animal.
Its upper shell is shaped like a dome and its sides are almost steep. The color of its carapace (upper shell) is yellow and it is speckled with dark spots and streaks. Its body is yellow-to-tan in appearance.
Leopard tortoises can grow up to a size of 40 centimeters and weigh around 29 pounds. Leopard tortoises that are native to the northern regions, can be as long as 70 centimeters in length.
These tortoises have a lifespan of 50 to 100 years.
They reach maturity at the age of 12 to 15 years.
A female leopard tortoise lays a clutch size of 5 to 30 eggs. In one breeding season, it lays 5 to 7 clutches. The eggs are hatched after 8 to 15 months.
Leopard tortoises are distributed across the steppes and waterless regions of Africa. It is present from Somalia to Namibia and South Africa. It prefers living in savannas of Africa. They are also found at altitudes as high as 9,500 feet.
They are herbivorous reptiles. There is a wide variety of foodstuff on its menu. Apart from grasses, these tortoises feed mainly on succulents, forbs and thistles. In order to get calcium, leopard tortoises also nibble bones.
Some of the predators that eat hatchlings and eggs of leopard tortoises are jackals, monitor lizards, crows and snakes.
Hyenas and lions are the rare predators of adult leopard tortoises.