Speke's hinge-back tortoise
|Speke's hinge-back tortoise|
This tortoise has an elongated carapace, up to 20 cm in length, which is distinctly flattened (allowing it to seek refuge in rock crevices and under logs). Its carapace has a weak, disrupted medial keel, and posterior marginals that are neither strongly serrated nor reverted. This species has a well-developed hinge at the rear end of the upper part of its shell, permitting the protection of its rear legs after they have been retracted. The male has a notably longer tail than the female of this species, and the tails end in a spine. Females possess a flat plastron, yet males have a more concave one.
Range and habitat
It feeds on small flowers, leaves, grass, herbs, succulents and fungi. It also eats snails and other small invertebrates, having a special preference for millipedes.
Females lay a small clutch of two to four eggs in the summer.
Parasites of hinge-back tortoises
Naturally Kinixys species tortoises play host to a number of ectoparasites (external) and endoparasites (internal) A survey (by Alan Probert & Clive Humphreys) of mixed captive K spekii and K belliana (mostly K spekii) in Zimbabwe showed that the following parasites were known to infest/infect this species. This had been observed and published by others too. However some of the tiny roundworms (photographed under SEM) are very likely new species and as yet remain undiscribed. Ticks (Arachnida) - Roundworms (Nematoda)- Angusticium, Atractis and Tachygontria