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Tortoises

About Tortoises

Leopard Tortoise

Common features of the Chelonians The most prominent feature is that they all have an outer shell, consisting of the upper carapace and the lower plastron. They have an internal skeleton contained within the shell. The order Chelonia consists of two sub-orders, which can be distinguished by the way the head and neck are withdrawn into the shell.  In both …

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Leopard tortoise

Leopard Tortoise

The female reaches over 70cm in length whilst the male is less than 50cm. The carapace is well rounded and overall cream with extensive brown and black blotching becoming darker with age; the scutes are small. This species does not have a hinged plastron.

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Kalahari (Serrated) tent tortoise

Kalahari Tent Tortoise

The Kalahari Tent Tortoise is much smaller than the Leopard Tortoise. It has a pronounced nuchal scale  and a very serrated edge to the shell. It is more common in the drier areas of Botswana and not common in the Okavango.

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Marsh terrapin

Marsh (Helmeted) Terrapin

The marsh terrapin does not have a hinged plastron and has a flatter thinner shell. This trade-off of protection means it is more able to make use of temporary pans because it does not have  a heavy shell to carry when it moves from one temporary water source to another. However the thinner shell means that they are more prone …

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Okavango hinged terrapin

Okavango Hinged Terrapin

Okavango Hinged Terrapin This terrapin has a carapace of approximately 330mm large.  The carapace is generally dark olive to black in colour.  As with most terrapins, the plastron is hinged (refer to diagram).  It has a very large head, which is black with distinctive yellow patterns.  Terrapins have 5 claws on hind feet. The Okavango terrapin lays between 21 – …

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