Leopard Tortoise

© Nigel Dennis


Leopard Tortoise [Stigmochelys pardalis] still classified by some as [Geochelone pardalis]


Western Leopard Tortoise [Stigmochelys pardalis pardalis] and Eastern Leopard Tortoise [Stigmochelys pardalis babcocki]

Vital Statistics

Class - Reptilia
Order - Testudines
Family - Testudinidae
Length_F - 750 mm
Length_M - 300 - 450 mm


The leopard tortoise is 700 mm in length, weighs up to 40 kgs and has a domed-shaped carapace with faintly raised scutes. It sometimes has a hooked beak, which is unicuspid and often serrated.and an absent nuchal.


The leopard tortoise lives mainly in savannah areas found within South Africa. Notable areas include South Western Cape, Eastern Cape into KwaZulu Natal and Lesotho.


The leopard tortoise lays between 6-15 large shelled eggs in a hole dug by the female. Which she refills and using her belly tramps down the soil. In South Africa, hatchlings weigh 23 - 50 g and measure 40 - 50 mm.


The leopard tortoise is a herbivore, and feeds mainly on grasses and succulents found in South Africa. They occasionally eat bones and hyena faeces out in the wild.