Micke Grove Zoo

SJGOV.org - How can we serve you today?

Visit S.J. County Parks & Recreation Website

Leopard Tortoise
Geochelone pardalis

  • Habitat: Arid to semi-arid habitats
  • Range: South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Angola, and Zambia
  • Natural Diet: Leaves, seeds, grains, nuts, and flowers
  • Status in the Wild: Common


Fun Facts

  • The African leopard tortoise is the fourth largest tortoise species in the world.

  • An average adult leopard tortoise is 18 inches in length and weighs approximately 40 pounds.

  • The tortoises are yellowish-cream in color with high dome-shaped carapaces.

  • The carapace has black markings that make the tortoise look very attractive.

  • Leopard tortoises are herbivorous.

  • When threatened these animals retract pulling in their heads and legs under their shell.

  • Sexual maturity is reached at 12 to 15 years of age. 

  •  Females dig holes in the ground with their hind legs in which they lay eggs. They lay three clutches of eggs of 5 to 30 eggs


Conservation Threats

Major threats to wild populations of this species are:

  • Habitat loss due to agricultural practices, livestock grazing, and  collection of wood.

  • Tortoises are also captured for the pet-trade and human consumption.


 The leopard tortoise is the fourth largest tortoise in the world



Some countries such as Ajerbaijan have placed the leopard tortoise on a stamp  

(photo courtesy@ Wikimedia Commons)



Map Distributional range in African countries