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The plastron cavity (the lower surface of the shell) is well developed with paired gulars (pertaining to the throat region) that are as long as they are wide.
This tortoise has a moderately large head with a hooked upper jaw.
Communicating When disturbed leopard tortoises will retract their heads into the shell for protection and make a hissing sound.
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At the southern and northern extremes of the range leopard tortoises are larger in mesic habitats.
In the central savannahs of East Africa, a maximum size of 300–450 mm is reached and a weight of nearly 13 kg.
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Introduction The attractively marked leopard tortoise is the largest species of tortoise in southern Africa.Some scientists used to recognise two races, based on body size differences, the size of the plastral concavity in males, and the number of spots in juveniles.It has been proposed that the typical race was restricted to the eastern and southern Cape, with a relict population in southern Namibia, while populations in central and eastern Africa belong to the second race.Wild leopard tortoises are usually well infested with ticks in the soft skin of the neck and upper limbs.This tortoise is the only species in the genus When these tortoises are transported from the Cape provinces to the northern parts of the country, they hybridise with local populations, as many escape or are released by owners who have grown tired of them.Leopard tortoises can also climb and are able to float and swim slowly as their large, domed shell has a sizeable lung space that allows buoyancy.