Karoo Cape tortoise
|Karoo Cape tortoise|
The Karoo Cape tortoise (Homopus femoralis), also known as the greater padloper, Karroo Cape tortoise, or Karroo tortoise, is a tiny tortoise of the Homopus genus, endemic to the grasslands and Karoo regions of South Africa.
This is the largest of the Homopus tortoises, but it is nonetheless tiny, averaging slightly over 10 cm in length. Like its close relative, H. areolatus (and unlike H. signatus), it has only four toes on its front feet. Its shell ranges in colour from olive to red, and is slightly flattened.
It is little studied, although it appears in ITIS and other databases.
The species is threatened by overgrazing and poaching for the pet trade. As the trade in collected Homopus species is strictly illegal and any captive specimens are systematically registered in noncommercial studbooks in South Africa and Namibia, any commercial sale of Homopus tortoises is almost without exception strictly illegal.
The species does not generally survive well in captivity unless some effort is made to supply specimens with their natural food, that is, endemic plants from the Cape/Karoo regions.
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- Homopus Research Foundation web site (accessed Novemver 24, 2013).
- Save Our Tortoises, CapeNature web site.
- IUCN Appendix 1. Regional Species Lists
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- Corton, M., Homopus (Padloper Tortoise) Care, World Chelonian Trust (retrieved August 20, 2013).