Testudines (turtles and tortoises)
HABITAT AND RANGE
Leopard tortoises are found in dry grassland areas. They do not tolerate damp or cold areas but do require extensive home ranges. They are widely distributed throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Leopard tortoises are relatively large tortoises with highly domed carapaces with tall ridges and intricate black and tan patterns. Their skin and plastron is tan colored. They can reach 2 feet long and weigh as much as 80 lbs.
Like all tortoises, leopard tortoises are herbivores and grazers. They tend to prefer succulents for their dietary and hydration needs but will eat other plant matter and grasses if succulents are unavailable. They will eat fruits if they find them.
REPRODUCTION AND LIFESPAN
Females lay about 15-30 golf ball sized eggs in a shallow nest that take 120-150 days to hatch. The female provides no parental care and once she is done covering the nest, she will have no further interaction with her young. Lifespan can reach 50 years.
Animals such as raccoons can prey upon tortoises because they have the dexterity and patience to pry at the meat of a tortoise at the openings for the hind legs and front legs and head. Many tortoises including leopard tortoises cannot tolerate temperatures of less than 70 degrees F. Lower temperatures make them more sluggish and can result in coma and death.