Homopus boulengeri

Duerden, 1906
Karoo padloper

This is a small (to 11 cm) tortoise with a slightly domed carapace which is flattened dorsally. A slight anterior cervical indentation is present, and the anterior and posterior marginals are only slightly upturned and serrated. A small cervical scute is also present. Vertebrals are wider than long, the 5th flared. Centers of the vertebrals and pleurals may be raised and surrounded by growth annuli, but generally they have a smooth appearance. There are 11-13 marginals, usually 12, on each side, and the supracaudal scute is undivided. Color varies from uniform tan to reddish brown or even olive brown (especially in juveniles). The vertebrals are often dark bordered. The plastron is large, and its forelobe is anteriorly truncated; the hindlobe bears a posterior notch; and the plastral formula is variable: abd > hum > pect >< fem >< an > gul. Only one inguinal occurs on the bridge, and it contacts the femoral scute. Plastral coloration varies from immaculate yellow, tan, or olive to having a large, medium-dark blotch or dark-bordered scutes. The head is moderate in size with a nonprojecting snout and a nonhooked or hooked, often bi- or tricuspid, upper jaw. The prefrontal scale is small and longitudinally divided, and is followed posteriorly by several other small scales. The head is light green to yellow or tan with brown jaws. Each forelimb is covered anteriorly with large overlapping scutes in three to five longitudinal rows, and a large conical tubercle usually lies on the posterior surface of the thigh. Normally, there are five claws on each forefoot. The limbs and tail are yellow to light green.
The smaller males have posteriorly concave plastra with deeper anal notches, and longer, thicker tails.

Homopus boulengeri is found on the Karoo Plain of South Africa.

Homopus boulengeri is restricted to dolerite ridges in karoid scrub vegetation.

Natural History
Eglis (1962) reported olfactory movements, which may be associated with courtship, consisted of a double or triple swinging sideways motion of the head with some additional short, straightforward motions. Nesting occurs in December. Apparently, a clutch comprises only a single, rather large (32-39 x 22-26 mm), pointed egg; to lay eggs this large, some flexibility of either the plastral hindlobe or the egg must occur.
Diet in nature has not been recorded, but probably consists of grasses and other small herbaceous plants.

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Not listed.