People hunt leopard tortoises for medicine, tools and food. Farmers also kill leopard tortoises to keep them from eating their crops.

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Important Facts

Protection from predators

Adult leopard tortoises have thick, heavy shells that provide excellent camouflage and protection from potential predators. Unfortunately, their babies aren’t so lucky. Foxes and mongooses eat nearly 80 percent of leopard tortoise hatchlings.

Conservation Connections

Leopard tortoises are considered agricultural pests throughout their geographic range and, as a result, are sometimes killed in retaliation for eating crops such as pumpkins, beans and cowpeas. Although their populations are not in trouble right now, many species of tortoise are becoming increasingly threatened.

At a Glance

Scientific Name

Psammobates pardalis


18 kg (39.6 lb)



Shrub habitat with low-lying vegetation in sub-Saharan Africa.


Herbivore. Plants make up about 98 percent of leopard tortoises’ diets, but they also eat fruit and berries when available.