Conservation & environment

One of our neighbours on patrol at Lamai!

12 February 2014

Walking the pathways of Lamai you will occasionally come across a strange

set of tracks. It looks a little like someone has been driving around with a

miniature 4x4 or perhaps pulling a tiny suitcase with wheels.

Follow it a while and if you`re quick enough (they are surprisingly sprightly -

Aesop was no fool!) and the mystery is solved.

The largest of the African Tortoises (and the fifth largest in the world!),

a Leopard Tortoise can often reach 46 cm in length and weigh over 15 kg.

There is an Ethiopian sub species of giants that has been known to

double those stats!!

The flat plastron (underside) on this specimen would suggest it's a female

(you can also tell by the eyelashes), males have a concave plastron

to facilitate mating - it stops him from falling off!

One of three species found in the region, the Leopard Tortoise -

Stigmochelys pardalis - is named for the splash coloration on it's carapace

(upper side), rather than it's ability to drag impalas up trees.

We were delighted to find him while showing this mornings arrivals to

their room - what a star.

PS. I've just discovered the existence of creature called a Pancake Tortoise,

Malacochersus tornien (by all means google that) - a bizarre looking flat chelonid

that favours rocky outcrops or Kopjies in East Africa (remind you of anywhere?).

I'm heading out hunting, super excited that we're going to find our own little

colony of Lamai Pancakes!!

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