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Leopard Tortoise

Updated on December 12, 2009
If your looking for a tortoise for a pet the Leopard Tortoise could be the perfect pet for you.
If your looking for a tortoise for a pet the Leopard Tortoise could be the perfect pet for you.

All About The Leopard Tortoise

The Leopard Tortoise is originally from Central and South Africa. A full grown Leopard Tortoise will get from 16-18 inches in size and in captivity these tortoises live 100 years or more so your Leopard Tortoise is going to out live you. Keep this in mind when you are thinking of buying one.

And below are some things you should know about keeping a Leopard Tortoise and how you should care for it.

Have you ever met a Leopard Tortoise. Well now through this video you can meet a Leopard Tortoise named George.

Here is a collection of baby leopard tortoises.
Here is a collection of baby leopard tortoises.

Your Leopard Tortoises Habitat Requirements

You can keep one baby leopard tortoise in a 30 gallon aquarium but as it grows and matures your Leopard Tortoise is going to want more room. If you have a tortoise in to small of a container he is always going to be in a corner trying to walk through the wall there. The ideal size of habitat for your leopard tortoise is 8 foot long , 4 feet wide and 3 foot deep.

You will want to have a sand soil mix in the bottom of your tortoises enclosure and ideally there should be a small water pond or dish that the tortoise can easily climb into and out of and it does not need to be over 2 to 3 inches deep. Your leopard tortoise can not swim. It must be able to walk into and out of the water. Really it needs like a ramp into and out of the water so the leopard tortoise can easily get into and out of the water.

You can decorate the turtles enclosure with real and fake plants and you really need to provide the leopard tortoise with a box with a hole in it so the leopard tortoise has a place to go for some quite time and you do not need to bother it when it is in its box. Make the opening in the box large enough for your tortoise to get in and out of even in the future. Keep a spray bottle of water to mist down your tortoises enclosure every two to three days to maintain a happy and healthy Leopard Tortoise.

Temperature and Lighting Requirements for your Leopard Tortoise

You will want to use a low wattage bulb over your leopard tortoise's enclosure to make sure that you do not overheat your tortoise. Your Leopard Tortoise will do best at 75-85 degrees and you want to make sure the temperature stays below 85 degrees anywhere in the leopard tortoise enclosure. Soak down your leopard tortoise with the spray bottle of water every day or two to keep it healthy. The light you use for your tortoise enclosure should be a UVB light to insure the best health of your leopard tortoise.

The Feeding and Nutrition of your Leopard Tortoise.

Your leopard tortoise will do well on a diet of dark leafy greens such as Kale , Collard Greens , Mustard Greens and Turnip Greens. Your Leopard Tortoise will also like meal worms and earth worms and you should keep a piece of cuttle bone in the leopard tortoise enclosure to ensure a source of calcium for your leopard tortoise. From time to time especially in the warm months let your leopard tortoise out in the grass so he can graze on grass. But be sure that you watch it so it does not wonder off. I create a temporary enclosure out of planks to keep my leopard tortoise in one place and I don't have to worry about it wandering off. 

Handling and Care of your Leopard Tortoise

For at least a week after you bring your new leopard tortoise home let it get used to its new home before you handle it again. I gave my leopard tortoise a ball with bells in it and he seems to enjoy pushing it around. On rare occasions I have also gave him some melon and some strawberries and he really seemed to enjoy those. When I give him meal worms I sort of hide them around his enclosure and he looks for them. Keep in mind that if you keep your leopard tortoise healthy he is most likely going to out live you. So know that he is going to be around for the rest of your life.

Here are two cute baby leopard tortoises. These guys will get 15-18 inches long and they will live 100 years or more.
Here are two cute baby leopard tortoises. These guys will get 15-18 inches long and they will live 100 years or more.

Do you have a leopard tortoise? Tell us all about it. Post your comments , tips , or suggestions about leopard tortoises now.

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    • profile image

      Maggie 6 years ago

      We are planning to buy 2 leopard tortoises. When they get big enough to stay in our back garden, we have to build a small house to get in during the night. We would like to know if a wooden heated house in winter is good enough instead of getting them inside.

    • profile image

      em 6 years ago

      i have an 18 month old leopard tortoise and would really like to know at what age they are generally fully grown! i know it's years and years and years and years... would just like to know how many so i can look forward to it :D

    • profile image

      andybutch13 6 years ago

      I enjoyed this hub a lot! I've just posted one about my baby leopard tortoise.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      Torts are fine in large enclosures, even small tortoises need larger enclosures than most think. Leopard tortoises are large sized tortoises that are not recommended to house in indoor enclosures. It's be pretty hard to house a 100 pound tortoise in an indoor enclosure.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile image

      Thomas Byers 8 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Whitney I love your comments. I have a large almost acre area where I have various species of turtles and tortoises including leopard tortoise. They love it and do well in the enclosure. But not everyone can turn part of their back yard into a tortoise enclosure. I have seen tortoises kept in small aquariums that were very stressed and would try for days to walk through to the other side through the aquarium glass. Many of those have found their way into my back yard tortoise enclosure.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      Leopard tortoises need very large enclosures. It's best to have outdoor pins for them. Glass aquariums aren't ideal because tortoises get stressed easily and being able to see to the other side through the glass can cause stress, as they'll try to get to the other side.

      Also, NEVER EVER use pellet substrate, like in that first video. Like you said, a 50/50 ratio of playsand and organic topsoil is the best substrate.