Meet Tom's Leopard Tortoises

Neal

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Tom said:
I wish you would. That would be a great thread. You have some new ones that I'm not familiar with. Love to see them.

I'm copying your method of babies outside all day every day, followed by a soak and overnight in a humid enclosure. :) I wanna try it out and see what it does with sulcatas.

I'll work on it then. I have some sulcatas in the mix now that I'm trying a different method with...It's still early, but I think you will find them interesting.
 

Tom

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What's this? Neal the leopard man has gotten some of the big bruisers? This deserves it's own thread. What are you waiting for man?
 

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Tom said:
They have turned out pretty smooth, but they are still not perfect.

Compared to other leopard pics I've seen, I think yours appear near perfect. I have to think that a little pyramiding is normal for these. Even wild ones seem to have a little.

Good job.
 

Tortus

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Just wondering...what's the main thing that leads some to keep South Africans rather than babcockis? I've heard that pardalis are a little heartier and get bigger, but are they very different cosmetically and personality wise as adults?

The seller I got my babcocki from asked $100 plus shipping, but he's asking $375 for his South African leopards. I really didn't want to pay that much for my first tortoise and didn't know much about the difference aside from the double spots on the pardalis.
 

Tom

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There have been many threads debating this. It is my opinion that their personalities are very different. The babcocki that I have seen tend to be very shy and uninterested in interaction with humans. The adult pardalis that I have seen are very sulcata-like in their personalities. Every time we have this discussion some of the leopard owners jump up and describe how friendly and outgoing their leopard(s) are. I don't doubt this, BUT given the state of interbreeding of leopards that has existed in this country for the last 20+ years, I would guess that these outgoing babcocki are really a hybrid. We all know that these exist. There are several forum members here that have said crosses. I don't even know if they know. The price is so high on the pp because of the rarity of true, pure pp. The man I buy mine from have several pens of true pp that he has been maintaining since 1990. Across the little road are several pens of location specific, true babcocki. When you stand on that road, even for just a few minutes, the difference between the two is obvious. My good friend has a couple of pp and houses them (against my strong and very vocal dismay) together with half a dozen either pure pb or mixes. When you watch this group there is no doubt, that two of them behave very differently than the rest. My child could pick out the two pp at three years old with about 15 seconds of observation.

Just my opinion and my observations...
 

Tortus

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Interesting. I saw some "true" pp on kingsnake this morning for $200. Don't know anything about the breeder though.

My babcocki is very shy, although it's only 9 weeks old. Every time I reach in the enclosure it shells up. It will eat out of my hand but I have to be patient with it.
 

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There is not a huge difference when they are babies. All tortoises, even most sulcatas and russians, are fearful as babies. Its when they get some size and years on them that the difference becomes more noticeable.

Although, at one time I had hatchling groups of both types of leopards and when you picked up the pp, they'd keep their heads out and either hang there or struggle to get free, where the pb would immediately tuck into their shells if you were within 6' of their kiddie pool. The pb would stay this way, all tucked in, until after you put them down and walked away.

It was funny... I had several forum members at my place visiting during one of the first heated discussions about leopard personalities. They are the ones who initially made this observation about the two types as hatchlings. We all had a laugh and when the tour was over, I came home, got back on the forum and resumed arguing the differences between the two types again...
 

Tortus

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Mine also hangs there struggling when I pick it up, especially out of the soaking water. It will also stay out when I spray it off with clean water after the soak. Sometimes I think it's going to kick it's way out of my grip...maybe it's in panic "fight or flight" mode at that point and doesn't feel like hiding will solve anything.

I think it's the initial shock of seeing a giant hand coming toward it through the light that scares it in the shell. That would scare me too...lol
 

TortieLuver

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Nice Tom:) They look fabulous!!! You look like you have a pretty good ratio of males and females with some good weights:) It's been such a fun experience to share in your moments of trying to grow smooth-shelled tortoises. I look forward to more posts from you with them!
 

nchan94

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Hi Tom,

Was just reading several of your posts about pyramiding and just want to say congrats on raising such beautiful tortoises!

I am currently raising a couple myself, but i just started so I'm new to this :p

I just want to clarify somethings by you as I did'nt have the time to look through all of the posts.

So you raised your leopards in very humid environments and hot temps (80 degrees and above) and this helped produce smooth tortoises? Did you include some calcium into their diet? or was it all natural (e.g. veges and grass).

So what did you find exactly?

Hope you can answer my questions soon! And congrats again for such beautiful tortoises!

Nick
 

Sh3wulf

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Gorgeous Tom! I'm so jealous of those smooth shells. Benny was already pyramiding quite badly when we adopted him. He is now living in a high humidity environment and getting warm soaks daily. Hopefully we can reduce any further "shell corruption".
I do hope you get some beautiful babies from Big Momma, he's absolutely gorgeous and so is #14, so lets hope She's female and takes a shining to Momma, cause those babies will be wonderful, and I would place my order for a baby from them now lol!
 

Tom

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nchan94 said:
Hi Tom,

Was just reading several of your posts about pyramiding and just want to say congrats on raising such beautiful tortoises!

I am currently raising a couple myself, but i just started so I'm new to this :p

I just want to clarify somethings by you as I did'nt have the time to look through all of the posts.

So you raised your leopards in very humid environments and hot temps (80 degrees and above) and this helped produce smooth tortoises? Did you include some calcium into their diet? or was it all natural (e.g. veges and grass).

So what did you find exactly?

Hope you can answer my questions soon! And congrats again for such beautiful tortoises!

Nick

The key to raising them smooth is to simulate the hot wet humid african rainy season. Calcium supplementation, diet and UV play secondary roles.

Soak hatchlings for about 45 minutes every day, keep the temp no lower than 80 anywhere in the enclosure, offer a humid hide, keep humidity around 80%, offer a 100 degree basking site for 12 hours a day, and you will produce a smooth leopard. Its nearly impossible to accomplish the above without using a closed chamber.
 

Mich

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Oh my that is quite the herd of leo's you have :) Your lawn must be the most weed-free lawn in the entire neighbourhood!!! LOL They are beautiful!
 

sibi

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Just beautiful! Tom, if you haven't thought about it already, you should consider writing a book about your methods of producing smooth shells for torts. It certainly would be a best seller among tort lovers the world over.
 

skottip

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Tom,
I think you are doing a fantastic job. They are about as smooth as you can get in captivity without raising them outside, year round from a hatchling. I have enjoyed out recent chats and I am looking forward to many more conversations in the future. I actually just found out the sex of my biggest Aldabra today via a peeing flash. lol
OK, my guesses as to the sexes.
I hope I am wrong, but it looks to me like a 7.2. Just my opinion of course. The hooked in supracaudels are what I tend to look for when sexing juvenile tortoises. There is an old saying when it comes to sexing tortoises. "if it looke like a male, it's a male. If it looks like a female it could be a male".
I will call you tomorrow.
I thinks it's almost time you added a few new numbers to your list. lol
 

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