Leopard Tortoise

Stigmochelys pardalis

Class: Reptilia Order: Testudines Family: Testudinidae


Length: 16-24 in
Weight: 40-80 lbs


50-75 years


Fruit, plants

Habitat & Range

Deserts and grasslands of southern Africa

Interesting Facts

  • The leopard tortoise is the fourth largest species of tortoise in the world. Their name comes from the spotted pattern on the top of their shell, or carapace.
  • Leopard tortoises are crepuscular, meaning they are most active during early morning and just before the sun sets. Afternoons in their habitat are often very hot, so they seek out shelter from the sun during this time.
  • Unlike some other tortoise species, leopard tortoises do not dig unless they are preparing a nest to lay eggs in. They will seek shelter from the heat or cold in burrows abandoned by other animals such as foxes or anteaters.
  • They are herbivores and graze on grasses. These tortoises also eat fruit such as that of the prickly pear cactus. They have no teeth, but do have hard beak like mouths used to rip food. Much of their moisture is obtained through the fruit and plants they eat.

Conservation Status

Least Concern


Leopard tortoises are threatened by the illegal pet trade, and they are sometimes killed for food.