Kinixys natalensis

Hewitt, 1935
Natal hinge-back tortoise

This small species was resurrected by Broadley (1981b). Its elongated carapace (to 15.5 cm) is slightly domed with a flat dorsal surface, sloping sides, the anterior marginals not flared or reverted, the posterior marginals not flared but slightly reverted and serrated, and the carapacial hinge is only weakly developed. Only a slight depression is present in the cervical region, and the posterior portion of the carapace drops off abruptly. An elongated cervical is present. All vertebrals are broader than long, although the 1st approaches equality, and the 5th is flared. Vertebrals 4 and 5 have raised central protuberances. Twelve or more marginals lie on each side, and the supracaudal is usually divided. Centers of the carapacial scutes are yellow to orange surrounded by dark-brown or black growth annuli. The short paired gulars only slightly project beyond the carapacial rim, and bear a slight notch at best; they are about twice as wide as long. The short plastral hindlobe has only a very shallow anal notch. Three small axillary scutes and one large inguinal (in contact with the femoral) occur on each bridge. The plastral formula is: abd > hum > fem > an > pect > gul. Plastral scutes have yellow centers and seam borders, separated by black areas. The brown to yellow head is small to large with a nonprojecting snout and a hooked tricuspid upper jaw. Its prefrontals are longitudinally divided, the large frontal is undivided, and other head scales are small and irregular. The clublike forelimbs have on the anterior surface seven or eight longitudinal rows of large overlapping scales. Five claws occur on each forefoot, and the tail ends in a clublike tubercle. Both limbs and tail are brown to yellow.
Males have longer, thicker tails and concave plastra. Females are larger than males.

Kinixys natalensis ranges from the eastern Northern Province and the Lebombo Range on the Mozambique-Swaziland border, south through western Zululand to Greytown, Kwazulu-Natal.

Kinixys natalensis is an inhabitant of dry rocky thornveld and bushveld at 300-1000 m elevation (Broadley, 1989f).

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Lower risk: near threatened.