Neha Patil

Homopus signatus

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Kingdom  Animalia
Order  Testudines
Superfamily  Testudinoidea
Scientific name  Homopus signatus
Length  Male: 6 – 8 cm (Adult)
Rank  Species
Phylum  Chordata
Suborder  Cryptodira
Family  Testudinidae
Mass  95 – 160 g (Adult)
Higher classification  Homopus
Homopus signatus ericaefreefrpersotortuesHomopussignatus3JPG
Similar  Homopus, Tortoise, Homopus areolatus, Turtle, Homopus solus

Homopus signatus eating dandelion

Homopus signatus is the world's smallest species of tortoise. It is commonly known as the speckled tortoise, known locally as the speckled padloper. and also known internationally as the speckled cape tortoise. A member of the genus Homopus, it is endemic to South Africa and Southern Namibia.


Homopus signatus Homopus signatus The Reptile Database

Homopus signatus signatus

Distribution and subspecies

Homopus signatus Speckled cape tortoise videos photos and facts Homopus signatus

Homopus signatus is naturally restricted to a small area in Little Namaqualand, an arid region in the west of South Africa. Here it normally lives on rocky outcrops, where it forages among the rocks for the tiny succulent plants it eats.

Homopus signatus Homopus signatus Wikipedia

In the past two subspecies were recognized, the Namaqualand speckled padloper (Homopus signatus signatus) and the southern speckled padloper (Homopus signatus cafer), however genetic studies have determined this was not supported and they are now considered a single species.


Homopus signatus Homopus Gallery

The males measure 6–8 centimetres (2.4–3.1 in), while the larger females measure up to almost 10 centimetres (3.9 in); they weigh about 95–165 grams (3.4–5.8 oz). This species has a flattened shell with slightly serrated edges. The orange-brown shell is covered in hundreds of black spots. The males have a noticeably concave belly.

Homopus signatus Speckled Padloper Homopus signatus This African species of the

This tiny tortoise can be distinguished from the other Homopus species by its speckles, and by five toes on its forefeet (unlike many of its relatives, which have four toes, on all four feet).

Life cycle and behaviour

Homopus signatus Homopus Gallery

These tiny tortoises are most active in the early morning (especially in autumn and spring when they breed). Living among the rocky outcrops, they feed on small succulents which grow between the rocks, and which they are small enough to reach. Their courtship involves the male and female nodding their heads at each other. After mating, the female makes a nest of several eggs in damp soil between the rocks. The hatchlings are under 7 grams and 30mm long, and emerge after between 100 and 120 days.

Threats and conservation

The species is threatened by traffic on roads, habitat destruction and poaching for the pet trade. As the trade in collected Homopus species is strictly illegal and any captive specimens are systematically registered in non-commercial studbooks in South Africa and Namibia, any commercial sale of Homopus tortoises is almost without exception strictly illegal. Another threat comes from introduced species, such as domestic dogs and pigs.

Many are taken from their natural habitat each year, and nearly all subsequently die as a result, as they do not readily adapt to typical captive diets and climatic change. Unlike most other Homopus species however, their diet (while very varied) is not highly specialized. Therefore the species can adapt well to captivity, provided that proper attention is paid to temperature, dryness and a sufficiently varied diet. They can in fact be very hardy in captivity, and most problems with captive care are caused by faulty nutrition, high humidity, dampness or bad husbandry.


Homopus signatus Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Homopus areolatus
Homopus solus