Leopard/Mountain Tortoise - Torti by Maree  Clarkson

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Leopard/Mountain Tortoise - Torti by 

Camera : Kodak EasyShare C195
Location : My garden, Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa

This is Torti, my Leopard Tortoise, who has been with me since she was no larger than my hand. Destined for the pot or possibly muti (a term for traditional medicine in Southern Africa), I confiscated her from the aggressor and brought her home. My intention was to release here into a safe environment, but these are becoming less and less due to the area becoming heavily built-up over the last decade.

These tortoises face many dangers like illegal trade in wildlife, body parts being used in traditional medicines, veld fires, road kills and many more. So, right or wrong, she has stayed with me over the past seven years in the hope that some day I will find a perfect area in which to release her. In the meantime, she comes when I call her every morning for breakfast, taking her time and making me wait while she unhurriedly approaches and then digging in with gusto!

They are large tortoises (largest species in South Africa) that can weigh over 30kg and measure up to 60cm in length. Males have longer tails and a deep plastron (Bottom of shell) concavity as opposed to the females which have short tails and a flat plastron. Colouration is varied and the African Leopard Tortoise typically lives 80 to 100 years.

The Leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis) is a large and attractively marked tortoise found in the savannas of eastern and southern Africa, from Sudan to the southern Cape. It is the only member of the genus Stigmochelys, but in the past it was commonly placed in Geochelone instead. This chelonian is a grazing species of tortoise that favors semi-arid, thorny to grassland habitats, although some leopard tortoises have been found in rainier areas. In both very hot and very cold weather they may dwell in abandoned fox, jackal, or anteater holes. Leopard tortoises do not dig other than to make nests in which to lay eggs. Not surprisingly, given its propensity for grassland habitats, it grazes extensively upon mixed grasses. It also favors succulents and thistles, and (in captivity) the fruit and pads of the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) (cactus are New World plants not native to Africa).

  1. 16th April 2013 – Placed in the TOP 10 of the challenge Land- of waterskilpaaie / Land or water tortoises in Afrika / in Africa


animals, reptile, reptiles, geochelone pardalis, tortoise, africa, nature, wildlife, skilpad, bergskilpad, maree clarkson, tarlton, magaliesburg, krugersdorp, gauteng, south africa, leopard tortoise, mountain tortoise, torti

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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  • Jim Phillips
    Jim Phillipsover 1 year ago

    Just how long is it between when you call him to eat and when he shows up Maree….LOL Cute!

  • Ha ha! She can work up quite a speed Jim, depends on how hungry she is!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallover 1 year ago

    Ag he is a darling!! x

  • That she certainly is Elizabeth!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Marsha Elliott
    Marsha Elliottover 1 year ago

    How cute! Is this one of your pets?

  • Yes, she is Marsha. Quite unintentional, but there you go!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 1 year ago

    A lovely, positively picturesque lady is Torti! Such an attractive house she has on her back, & good for you for rescuing her! Brava, Maree!!

  • Thank you Sheila! She sometimes goes into the pond for a bath and you should see her house then, all sparkly and clean!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotover 1 year ago

    How cute! Reminds me of my “Sharing is Caring.” Bless you for rescuing this beautiful animal.

  • Thank you Dot. We sometimes don’t have any choice in these matters, do we?

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Crista Cowan
    Crista Cowanover 1 year ago

    Lovely Image Maree! Too cute…why have a dog when you can have a very cool tortoise.

  • Thanks a lot Crista. Yep, this is one that certainly won’t be sharing our bed!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Julie  White
    Julie Whiteover 1 year ago

    Awesome capture Maree.

  • Pleased you like her Julie and thanks for the fav!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • WoolleyWorld
    WoolleyWorldover 1 year ago

    We can see the care you have taken with her meal Maree…great looking salad and Torti is a beauty!

  • Aaaah, thanks a lot Maree! Every morning when I make her food I get hungry as well! he he!

    – Maree Clarkson

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