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RE: Leopard Tortiose

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Posted by: Ivory Tortoise at Fri Aug 13 14:47:15 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Ivory Tortoise ]  
   

I have bred leopard tortoises every year for the past 32 years and have been to Africa to see them in person (I am going to Ethiopia next year to see and photograph the really giant leopard tortoises). I wrote an excellent book on the care and breeding of Leopard tortoises but am not allowed to plug it on this forum.

There are currently two subspecies of leopard tortoises; however most authorities no longer recognize them. They are Stigmochelys pardalis pardalis and Stigmochelys pardalis babcocki. The S. p. pardalis is found in certain parts of South Africa and S. p. babcocki is found everywhere else. S. p. pardalis can be identified as a hatchling because it has two spots on the central scutes. S. p. babcocki has only one or no spots on the central scutes. S. p. pardalis usually has a more speckled skin than does S. p. babcocki.

In the USA the larger of the two subspecies is S. p. pardalis and it grows from 16 to 24 inches. The S. p. babcocki in the USA grow from 13 to 19 inches, however there are S. p. babcocki from Somalia and Ethiopia, which are reported to get to 26 to 32 inches with an unconfirmed report of a 38-inch tortoise (I kind of doubt it). Unfortunately none of the giant S. p. babcocki has ever made it into the USA and now USDA regulations ban the importation of any leopard tortoises “period”.

You are correct that hatchling leopard tortoise cannot be accurately sexed. They need to be two or three years old (sometimes older). At six inches you can start making a pretty good guess on the sex.

Good luck,

Richard Fife
richardfife@q.com


   

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<< Previous Message:  Leopard Tortiose - exoticball, Fri Aug 13 12:13:23 2010