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Leopard Tortoise South African Health Information

Leopard Tortoises require a large enclosure, and ideally should be housed outdoors whenever weather permits. Leopard Tortoises are solitary animals in the wild and may become if crowded. When many are housed together they need sufficient room to get away from one another and many hiding spots. Males should not be housed together because of their tendency to spar for territory and breeding rights. They should always have access to shaded areas no hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and at night they should not be left out in temperatures colder than 65 degrees. When sunny daytime temperatures are less than 70 degrees, the tortoises should be housed in heated shelters. If housing them indoors, during the day the temperature within the enclosure should range from about 80 degrees Fahrenheit at the cool end to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the basking area. At night, the temperature should not fall below 70 degrees. They should be kept at low humidity levels, and they should be exposed to between 12 and 14 hours of full spectrum UV light per day. They can be provided with a shallow bowl of water large enough to soak in, or they can be soaked in shallow water periodically - about 3 times a week for those less than 1 year old and once a week for adults.

Captive Leopard Tortoises should be allowed to graze. They do best with a diet consisting primarily of grasses. Their diet should be full of fiber and they should be given a calcium supplement. The diet can be supplemented with dark leafy green vegetables such as collards, kale, and turnip greens. Grape leaves, if available, are very nutritious and a good addition to the diet. They can also be fed fresh and dried alfalfa, but only in small amounts, as it is very high in protein. Fruit can be given in very small amounts, but should always be dusted with calcium.

A very long-lived animal, the Leopard Tortoise is seldom sexually mature until it is between the ages of 12 and 15 years. Captive Leopard Tortoises, however, grow faster and may be sexually mature as young as 6 years of age.

Leopard Tortoises "court" by the male ramming the female. When mating, the male makes grunting vocalizations. After mating, the female lays a clutch consisting of between five and 18 eggs. The South African Leopard Tortoise is significantly more difficult to propagate in captivity than the common Leopard Tortoise, G. p. babcocki. Rarely will eggs hatch in an incubator. Most successes have occurred when eggs are left in the ground, and when the climate is similar to the natural one for these tortoises. Few people are consistently, successfully breeding these tortoises in captivity.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Leopard_Tortoise_South_African".
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