Homopus femoralis

Boulenger, 1888a
Greater padloper

This Homopus reaches 16.8 cm in carapace length. Its carapace is flattened dorsally, scarcely indented in the cervical region, and has the anterior and posterior marginals expanded, reverted, and serrated. A small, broad cervical scute is present, and the 1st vertebral is longer than broad, or at least as long as broad, while the others are broader than long. Eleven marginals lie on each side, and the supracaudal is undivided. The carapace is yellowish brown to dark brown or olive with the scutes dark bordered in younger individuals. The scutes of some are orange or red tinged. The plastron is yellow to olive, with dark pigment on the anterior of each scute in the young, but immaculate in older tortoises. Its forelobe is anteriorly truncated and scarcely notched; the hindlobe has an anal notch. The plastral formula is: abd > hum > an >< fem > gul > pect. Each bridge has a single axillary and two or three inguinal scutes, the innermost touching the femoral scute. The head is moderate in size, with at best a weakly hooked, tricuspid upper jaw, and a nonprojecting snout. Several small scales lie above the nostrils. The prefrontal scale is large and divided longitudinally; the frontal is also large or is subdivided; other head scales are small. Head and neck are yellow to tan with some pink or orange pigment; the jaws are brown. The forelimbs are anteriorly covered with large imbricate scales in three or four longitudinal rows, and a large conical tubercle is present on the thigh. The heels have large spurlike tubercles. Four claws occur on each forefoot. Limbs and tail are yellow to tan with tinges of pink or orange.
The smaller males have posteriorly concave plastra with deeper anal notches, and longer, thicker tails.

Homopus femoralis is restricted to South Africa where it occurs in western Western Cape, Eastern Cape, southwest Free State, and possibly extreme southwest North-West Province (Greig and Burdett, 1976).

This tortoise occupies rocky ridges in mountains and plateau grasslands (Branch, 1989d).

Natural History
Nesting occurs in summer, with a clutch comprising 1-3 oval to spherical (29-36 x 25-27 mm) eggs. Hatchlings have 25-30 mm carapaces (Branch, 1989d).
H. femoralis is a grassland specialist. It hibernates in deep rock crevices in June-September (Branch, 1989d). Grasses and other small herbaceous plants form the diet.

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Not listed.