About the Author

Jess Shillaw

Guest contributor

Jess was born in Kwazulu/Natal but grew up in Cape Town. Having an innate love for all things wild but getting to spend little time in the bush while growing up, she headed straight for the Lowveld after school. She completed a guiding ...

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on A Leopard Tortoise Lays Her Eggs Right Next to Us

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Senior Digital Ranger

How amazing that is to have witness that.

Such a special and unique sighting! I have seen painted turtles in the US laying eggs and it was an unexpected experience like yours. The sex determination by temperature for many reptiles is concerning given rising global temperatures.

Thanks Jess for this really fascinating blog on Tortoises and their breeding habits.
I had not known that it takes so many months for the eggs to become tiny tortoises. Very interesting.

How exciting Jess, to be looking up at one scene playing out, but then have a guest discover the leopard tortoise next to your vehicle, also engaged in an unusual activity. The gestation period for these tortoise eggs seems like a long time compared to other animals but it will be exciting to view the little hatchlings if your timing is good. I had spotted quail eggs hidden under a plant and checked in daily as I was hoping to see the chicks, but unfortunately, they hatched and immediately disappeared, leaving only the empty shells as evidence. With tortoises, you will most likely have better luck!

Hi Jess, what a nice break today with this tortoise female! The black-and-white picture is amazing! So there will hopefully be many tiny females to say hello to the world. Lovely

Jess that is so fantastic to witness the female laying her eggs. That is so rare and you were at the right place at the right time forsure. I personally love a tortoise and can watch them for ages. How can you tell the female and male tortoises apart once they have hatched. Wow it is nearly a whole year for incubation depending on the climate.

Jess, nice blog on the tortoises, fascinating animals. Hope this clutch of eggs is a successful hatch.

Very fortunate sighting indeed Jill! I’ll stay tuned here to see the hatchlings in the future!

Master Tracker

One leopard sighting I really would have liked to have seen, it is not often I am envious of a sighting….

but for that I would make an exception

Hi Jess, we live in the Western Cape, South Africa on a farm,and beginning of December we witnessed a Leopard tortoise lay her eggs on the most unusual place. And we wondered if she urinated as it was wet all around. I would love to send the video to you some way. It was so lovely reading your experience and getting the answers we wondered about and are curious if the eggs have hatched yet. We marked the spot and will return every month to observe any movement. But what an experience. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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