South African Leopard Tortoise (Big Babies)

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  1. Playmate

    Posted by Gary & Debi Mumm on 1st Mar 2014

    Thank's for letting me know you had more South African Leopards ! Fluffy arrived in good shape and was eating and drinking in no time. Spike and Fluffy are getting along well and both doing great ! We built them a custom house that takes up more than half of my desk top. Should keep them happy for quite a while before they out grow it and it give me plenty of time to enjoy them.

  2. Completely satisfied!!

    Posted by Katie on 10th Feb 2014

    We received our South African Leopard tortoise about a month and a half ago and couldn't be happier. We named it Spock and it has been active and healthy from the moment we got it. The colors are gorgeous! We will always get our tortoises from tortoise supply; they are simply the best!

  3. Beautiful Giant Leopard Tortoise

    Posted by echan on 12th Jan 2014

    What a beautiful tortoise! He is big and absolutely stunning in colors! Thanks Tyler. I know where to get my torts from now on.

  4. I'll be back !

    Posted by Gary Mumm on 12th Jan 2014

    I gave Spike a quik soak as soon as he arrived and he perked right up. He started eating right away and has been eating like a little armored pig ever since. Not at all picky.
    I hope to get Spike a playmate when the South African Leopards are available again !


Common Name: Leopard Tortoise
Scientific Name: Stigmochelys Pardalis Pardalis
Current Size: 2.5-3" range, 70-80 gram average
Average Adult Size: 10-16" (females larger)
Area of Origin: South 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 substrate kept mostly dry with a humid hidebox that they can get into at night. Temperatures in the room fluctuate between 65 at night up to 85-90 during the day, but we keep the hidebox heated to around 80 at night with a red bulb placed overhead. Diet consists of spring mix on a daily basis, with moistened Mazuri tortoise diet mixed into the spring mix a few times a week. We sprinkle the food lightly with a calcium supplement 2 or 3 times a week and a multivitamin supplement 1-2 times a week. The tortoises are removed from their enclosure and soaked in a separate 1/4" deep pan of warm water generally 3 days a week for 30 minutes each time. Being a desert tortoise, 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 spot bulbs in a small part of the enclosure to give them a "hot spot" around 100 degrees that they can get into if they want to warm up.