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Speke's Hinged Tortoise

Tortoises | Namibia

Introduction: Speke's Hinged Tortoise (Kinixys spekii) was named after the English explorer John Hanning Speke who also discovered the source of the River Nile. Kineo is Greek for 'to move' and ixys for 'small back'. The hinge (which resembles a cracked shell) is visible in adult tortoises towards the back and above the hind legs (hence the name).

They are mainly associated with a riparian vegetation of a sandy tree savannah and woodland vegetation region which accounts for the selective distribution areas. It is a medium-sized tortoise, elongated in shape with a slight, but distinctive, flattened appearance. They tend to be more active in the rainy season, once they emerge from hibernation holes they habit in the colder, winter months. They are on the move for most of the day.

Distribution: Mainly found in the north-east of Namibia, typically in the Kavango and Caprivi regions.

Diet: A varied diet of grasses and shrubs, but they are also known to eat millipedes, beetles, ants and snails.

Colouring: Males and females can often be of different colour patterns. The males are uniformly brown but the females are more colourful with dark patches or rings with a yellow background on the shield. Older females can be mistaken for older males.

Breeding: Clutches of eggs are typically 2 to 6 in number with multiple births common during the summer months. Incubation periods are between 313 and 365 days. Juveniles are usually hatched during the rainy season.

Weight: 820g to 1.5kg. Females are slightly bigger than males.

Dangers and predators: Humans collecting Speke's Hinged Tortoise is not uncommon for food, but a greater danger is deaths due to fires, again caused by humans especially in the north-eastern regions of Namibia.

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Self Catering Namibia