The African Leopard Tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis) is one of the largest species of tortoise and is known for having a beautifully high-doomed carapace with leopard like markings from which their common name was derived. They are one of the most widely distributed tortoise species on the continent of Africa and one of the most adaptable in the world.
The ideal leopard tortoise diet should consist of the largest variety of grasses, weeds, leaves, flowers and succulents as possible. Leopard tortoises are native primarily to the grassland regions in north eastern, eastern coastal and down to southern Africa. They are herbivores and their diet should reflect a high fiber and low protein regimen.
Leopard tortoise hatchlings and juveniles can be housed in captivity in a variety of ways. It seems that just about everyone has their own unique setup but the main requirements that most keepers can agree on are a heat source both day and night, UVA/UVB light, proper humidity and as much space as you can provide.
I’m Michael Scott and welcome to LeopardTortoises.com. This website has one very specific goal and that is to share current, real world, practical, information about leopard tortoises and their general husbandry in captivity. Within this website, I share information that I have gathered from numerous resources and my own personal experiences in raising leopard tortoises. I acknowledge that there are many different opinions and ways to go about raising them, I simply am sharing what has worked for me and what has not worked for me.
I don’t claim to be an expert by any means but I do claim to read, research and learn with an open mind as much as possible on the topic of leopard tortoise husbandry in captivity. I have been raising reptiles for over 35 years as a hobby and have experience with Green Snakes, Rat Snakes, Burmese Pythons, Colombian Boas, Golden Tegus, Nile Monitors, Salvator Monitors, Green Iguanas, Sulcata tortoises and Leopard tortoises both typical (what most people call babocki) and South African. I am currently raising 4 babcocki and 4 South African leopards that I acquired as hatchlings at various points in 2014 and chronicle my experiences raising them on this website.
The more I got into raising them, the more I realized is that there is a LOT of old, outdated and just plan wrong information out there being past on by hobbyists and breeders alike to new hatchling owners for example “you don’t need to provide drinking water in the enclosure because they get all the water they need from their food”… wrong. Every hatchling I have cared for will readily drink water when provided. Or “Leopard tortoises are a desert species so you need to keep their environment hot and dry”… again wrong. They are predominantly found in grasslands through out their range. With so many myths out there I feel compelled to share what I have learned so others don’t make the same mistakes I have.
I enjoy sharing my tortoise hobby with my two young children and teaching them to be stewards of the natural world. I’ve even managed to win over my very tolerant wife in this endeavor. However, she still thinks that I spend too much time with the tortoises and she is probably right.
A well-known scientist once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: ‘What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.’ The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, ‘What is the turtle standing on?’ ‘You’re very clever, young man, very clever,’ said the little old lady. ‘But it’s turtles all the way down.’
~ Stephen William Hawking