Big Baby Leopard Tortoise 2.5"+ (3-5 month olds)

$250.00
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  1. Yearling – Excellent Specimen

    Posted by Happy Herper on 21st Aug 2011

    Yearling Leopard arrived in excellent health with great coloring after a 1500 mile flight. Many here state their animals come out of the box active and hungry. This guy started a little slower but after a two day adjustment period while the owner went through a two day learning curve, the tort became incredibly active, eating everything in site with perfectly healthy digestion.

    I researched many sellers before this purchase and can say with complete confidence that this is the seller to go with!

Description

Common Name: Leopard Tortoise
Scientific Name: Stigmochelys Pardalis Babcocki
Current Size: 2.5"+ 
Average Adult Size: 10-16" (females larger)
Area of Origin: East Africa

Description: Sandy yellow color with variable black splashes throughout the shell. These tend to be a high domed tortoise, with males normally a bit more elongated and narrow than the rounder, wide females.

Habitat: Hot, dry climates. This is one of the few tortoises that really struggles in high humidity areas (they can handle moderate humidity). They do not hibernate, but will go through a winter slow down period during cooler weather and shortened daylengths. As adults, they can safely handle body temperatures as low as 50 degrees at night as long as they are able to heat up into the 70's during the day. Summer highs up to 120 degrees can be tolerated as long as there is a cooler, shaded retreat the tortoise can get into. Dampness is not a problem in high temperatures (a cool mud hole on a hot day), but in cooler weather the tortoises should be kept dry. As babies, these tortoises spend almost all their time in washes and underground in burrows, giving them a much more humid and moist environment than you picture the desert to be. 

Diet: This tortoise is naturally a grazer, and will wander about nibbling on grass the majority of its natural life. In captivity, leopard tortoises will graze on grasses, as well as leafy weeds and clover (dandelions are a favorite). As babies, we focus more on feeding them a wide mix of leafy greens (spring mix), since they have a harder time eating the more tough grass. Vegetables can be added to the diet for variety, but fruit should generally be avoided.

Adult Behavior: Adult leopard tortoises are peaceful, slow moving tortoises. They are un-aggressive towards eachother in most cases, and do little damage to their environment (little or no digging or burrowing). Some individuals can be skittish if spooked, but most will eagerly come to their keepers looking for food once they are comfortable in their environments. They are not very good climbers and make little attempt to escape, so a short, basic wall will contain most leopard tortoises.

Our Current Care:  During cooler weather or indoors, these tortoises are kept indoors on a cypress and/or coco coir substrate with a humid hidebox that they can get into at night. We raise them in cheap, simple plastic tubs that can be purchased at WalMart or Target, generally 3 to 4 square feet in size for babies. Temperatures in the room fluctuate between 75 at night up to 85 during the day, but we keep the hidebox heated to around 80-85 at night with a heat pad beind it, or a red bulb placed overhead.

Diet consists of spring mix greens with many other leafy greens offered in rotation to that (mulberry, endive, grape leaves, hibiscus leaves, diced cactus pad and we use globe mallow leaves pretty regularly). We like to also add moistened Mazuri LS tortoise diet as well as ZooMed's Gourmet Tortoise Food a few times a week, usually mixed and mashed into the leafy greens. The addition of the commercial diets take care of most or all of the supplementation needs, or you can sprinkle the food lightly with a calcium supplement 2 or 3 times a week and a multivitamin supplement 1-2 times a week. We also throw a pinch of our herbal hay on top of whatever they are eating almost daily, which adds variety and flavor and scent to everything.

The tortoises are removed from their enclosure and soaked in a separate 1/4" deep pan of warm water daily or almost daily for 30 minutes each time. We don't generally use water dishes in the enclosures because of the risk of drowning (yes, we have lost babies to drowning when they flipped over in 1/4" of water).

Being a desert species, they should have intense lighting, and they need lights on during the day and off at night to maintain a normal day/night cycle. We use full spectrum UVB lights, which we suggest for the growth of pretty, healthy tortoises, and use a ZooMed Powersun bulb in a small part of the enclosure to give them a "hot spot" around 95-100 degrees that they can get into if they want to warm up.

We don't use the "closed chamber" method (keeping airflow very restricted to increase humidity). It is very risky if/when temperatures get below about 80, and mold, shell rot, and respiratory problems become a lot more common in those conditions. We keep them open top in the warm area, and enclosed, warm and humid within the hide (like they would be in the wild). They are free to choose the conditions, temperatures, and humidity levels they want within that setup.