The Leopard tortoise (Bergskilpad) is obviously one of the five. I have also seen Angulate tortoise (Ploegskaarskilpad) and Tent tortoise (Knoppiesdopskilpad) in the park. Boulenger's Padloper (Karoo Padloper) will also be in the park as well as the Parrot-beaked Tortoise (Papegaaibekskilpad).
1.The leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) – black dots on its earth-coloured shell give it its name;
2. The tent tortoise (Psammobates tentorius) – is equally distinct with yellow and black geometric designs on its shell;
3. The angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata) – the shell of this tortoise has slightly curved shields which give it the very apt name of “ploegskaarskilpad” (ploughshare tortoise) in Afrikaans;
4. The Karoo Padloper (Homotus boulengeri) - this is undoubtedly the most common tortoise in the Karoo and it is also often called the “donderweerskilpad” (thunder storm tortoise). Its great activity during stormy weather earns it this name – these tortoises seem to always take to the road when thunderstorms or bad weather is about and this has also led farmers to believe that tortoises head for the hills and high ground if flooding is imminent. Similarly dry seasons are indicated when these padloper (road walker) tortoises head away from the koppies into low lying areas.
5. The Greater Padloper (Homotus femoralis) – this is the larger cousin of the common padloper tortoise. It is easily identified as it has four claws on its front feet – all other tortoise species have five.
_________________ Megan Taplin Communications Manager: Frontier Region
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