A very interesting page

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John

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In Stigmochelys pardalis babcocki especially there is a wide spectrum of average and maximum sizes,colorations, and color patterns within its distribution range. Specimens from some regions (i.e the northern and southernmost ends of the range) may,for example, be up 300% larger than those of the same age from other regions. This could be a result of various environmental factors such as climate, diet and genetic makeup. The mentioned regions with the largest specimens are marked bywarm, moist summers that favor very much the growth of feeder plants and thus that of the leopard tortoises. The months with the highest degree of moisture at equatorial latitudes, on the other hand,need not necessarily coincide with the times of greatest warmth.
Devaux (1999c) supposed that there may be three subspecies: a northern, a southern, and one in the center of the distribution range. The "central subspecies" from about Angola, Bostwana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania is according to Devaux, marked by a smaller body size, a higher domed carapace, a yellowish orange ground color, and a distinct pattern of dark spots. The other two forms, in contrast, would grow larger, have more convex carapace scutes, retain a lighter coloration and possess paler markings. That these supposed differences are not always applicable, though, is demonstrated, for example, by the hump-like convex vertabral and pleural scutes typically found in the carapace of the leopard tortoises from the serengeti (Tanzania). Lambert et al. (1998), who thoroughly studied the serengeti population, interpreted these "humps" as a result of a diet either deficient in calcium or proficient in protien (carrion, predator feces), but also considered a possible adaptation to the hard, grass-covered ground of the serengeti. Holger Vetter
Holger later goes on to state that the mentioned diferences in color pattern of the shell are far more difficult discern in adults than in juveniles, he also sites Schleicher & Schleicher (1997) as not being able to confirm said differences due to having animals of the same clutch exhibitng traits of both subspecies.


I find it interesting that several topics of debate were touched on here, and all left open to interpretation.Also interesting is that although moisture is sited as being responsible for more growth, it is not linked to the serengeti leopards possible greater sun exposure and lack of moisture.more and more I feel as do others that in captivity it is not so much the lack of moisture as it is we are cooking these animals with light bulbs, much like a chicken in the oven if you keep basteing it, it will not dry out so much. So is basting really the answer? Or do are lighting/heating methods need to be revamped? Do these animals really need constant high temps only to be basted?
Anyway this has become long winded I have other thoughts that I will touch on later but for now I would like to read others thoughts and comments on all the info above. Thanks, John:)
 

Tom

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Very interesting John. What is the source?

You also bring up some very good points and your cooking/basting analogy is a good one. Although it will be with sulcatas, me and two or three others should have some answers for you in the next few months.

One are that I found interesting is the description of the colors of the ones found in the South. Most of the pp here in the states seem to match the description that was given, but all the ones that I saw (several hundred both captive and wild) in the very Southernmost part of their range were very dark. Some of them almost black. Even the younger/smaller captive ones were very dark. At one animal park they had a big pen with several dozen and some were as small as 4-5".
 

Yvonne G

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Hey John:

I just had to mention the fact that your typing skills have improved 100% since you joined the forum!! Can we take credit for that? "Join the forum and learn to type!!" :p

Thanks for the info.
 

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Good post John. I don't have much to add only that it, in a way, further shows how complex the entire aspect of leopard tortoise husbandry and knowledge is. I only bringing this up because it is the subject of a current debate, but the complexity of leopard tortoises is the root of my dissagreements with generalized statements about hardiness and characteristics. No other species of tortoise is found in such a wide array of environmental conditions, and the fact is we really don't know where exactly the tortoises in the United States originated from. Not even Fife who imported many, knows where his came from.
 

John

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:)
Tom said:
Very interesting John. What is the source?

You also bring up some very good points and your cooking/basting analogy is a good one. Although it will be with sulcatas, me and two or three others should have some answers for you in the next few months.

One are that I found interesting is the description of the colors of the ones found in the South. Most of the pp here in the states seem to match the description that was given, but all the ones that I saw (several hundred both captive and wild) in the very Southernmost part of their range were very dark. Some of them almost black. Even the younger/smaller captive ones were very dark. At one animal park they had a big pen with several dozen and some were as small as 4-5".
What is the source? I will have to go back and check my thread to make sure I listed the sources, yep they are listed, man good thing I would not want anyone to think I was trying to take credit for someone else's theory, like someone I know. As far as the sulcatas go please don't try to derail my thread Tom, this is about leopards. As far as coloration goes what I posted is a description published by Devaux I am not stating it to be fact, it is up for debate. Also I can not comment on what you claim to have witnessed, I was not with you, perhaps you may want to take up that debate with the source (listed above).There is something else that puzzles me Tom, repeatedly you have stated that for years you raised tortoises the wrong way based on what you were taught by dated ideas, Perhaps you can steer me to the publications where this information exsists, I have been reading countless publications, books, journals and have yet to find anything that would leed me to conclude that leopard tortoises should be kept in desert like conditions.:)

emysemys said:
Hey John:

I just had to mention the fact that your typing skills have improved 100% since you joined the forum!! Can we take credit for that? "Join the forum and learn to type!!" :p

Thanks for the info.

LOL, Thanks for the compliment Yvonne although very off topic. Actually I have been inspired to work on my typing skills by some of the better leopard tortoise keepers here on the forum, Neal,Brett, Paul and also Gbtortoise who happens to have outstanding typing skills:D

Neal said:
Good post John. I don't have much to add only that it, in a way, further shows how complex the entire aspect of leopard tortoise husbandry and knowledge is. I only bringing this up because it is the subject of a current debate, but the complexity of leopard tortoises is the root of my dissagreements with generalized statements about hardiness and characteristics. No other species of tortoise is found in such a wide array of environmental conditions, and the fact is we really don't know where exactly the tortoises in the United States originated from. Not even Fife who imported many, knows where his came from.

Well, Neal believe it or not this was not meant to be a debate, it was me more or less showing the forum a page in a book I found interesting and here comments on the literature I presented...........but it appears someone here wanted to take it to an ego feeding thread just like always
 

Neal

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Right John, sorry for the debate tone.

I am curious as to how/if the desication of a light bulb compares to the desication of natural sunlight?
 
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