Speckled padloper, Speckled Cape tortoise, Chersobius signatus
Chersobius signatus is the world's smallest species of tortoise (family Testudinidae). The species is commonly known as the speckled tortoise and also known locally as the speckled padloper and internationally as the speckled Cape tortoise. A member of the genus Chersobius, it is endemic to South Africa.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Generally solitary animals are those animals that spend their time separately but will gather at foraging areas or sleep in the same location or sh...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The Speckled tortoise is the world's smallest species of tortoise native to South Africa. It has a flattened shell with slightly serrated edges. The shell is orange-brown in color and is covered in hundreds of black spots. The males have a noticeably concave belly. This tiny tortoise can be distinguished from the other tortoises in its genus by its speckles, and by five toes on its forefeet ( many of its relatives have four toes on all four feet).
Speckled tortoises occur in a small area in Little Namaqualand, an arid region in the west of South Africa. There they live on rocky outcrops and forage among the rocks.
Speckled tortoises are reclusive animals and are most active in the early morning. Living among the rocky outcrops, they feed on small succulents which grow between the rocks, and which are small enough to reach. There they often find shelter from high temperatures and can hide from predators. These tortoises are also known as padlopers (originally meaning "path-walkers" in Afrikaans), due to their habit of making tiny pathways through vegetation.
Speckled tortoises are herbivores. They feed on various plants including leaves, succulents, flowers, grasses, stems of forbs, and shrubs.
During the breeding season which usually takes place in autumn and spring, males become very aggressive towards each other and even towards females. Courtship typically involves the male and female nodding their heads at each other. After mating, the female makes a nest in damp soil between the rocks where she lays one egg. The hatchlings are under 7 grams and 30 mm (1.2 in) long, and emerge after 100 to 120 days.
Speckled tortoises are threatened by traffic on roads, habitat destruction, and poaching for the pet trade. 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 environmental change. Another threat to these turtles comes from introduced species, such as domestic dogs and pigs.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Speckled tortoise total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.