Home’s Hingeback Tortoise

ANIMAL:
Home’s Hingeback Tortoise Kinixys homeana

Type of Animal:
Tortoise

Habitat:
Tropical/subtropical forest, coastal forest, swamps, plantations, streams

Location(s):
W & C Africa

Appearance:
Tan to dark brown carapace (upper shell), flat scutes, carapace angles sharply down back, brown to yellow skin, plastron (bottom shell) yellow w/ black spots in center of scutes, front of shell slopes towards narrow head, male heads sometimes have more color, scaly front legs, males have larger tails/concave plastron, females have flatter plastron but older females sometimes have concave plastron, females larger than males, hatchlings flat/round & dull ochre w/ darker spotting

Food/Diet:
Mushrooms, seeds, plant matter, greens, melons, fruit, vegetables, berries, legumes, insects, insect larvae, snails, slugs, worms, spiders, frogs, carrion, small rodents, isopods, fish, grasses

Status in Wild:
Threatened

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, herpetoculture, & breeding centers

Lifestyle:
Solitary or small herds of a male & 2-3 females

Additional Info:

Called:
Male
Female
Young: Hatchling
Group: Herd

Weight:
Male: 1.7 lbs
Female: 2.4 lbs

Gestation:
5 months 

Life Span:
25-60 years

Body Length:
Male: 5.5-6 in
Female: 9-11.5 in
Young: 3 in

Tail Length:
Male: Longer/thicker
Female: Shorter

Main predators of adults are crocodiles & leopards. Ball pythons prey on young.
 
Threatened due to habitat loss, deforestation, pet trade, hunting for meat, & hunting for medicinal purposes.
 
They’re very shy in the wild.
 
Can be active any time of day but most inactive at mid/late night.
 
They’re very light sensitive, almost never basking in sun.
 
Females lay 1-4 oval/spherical eggs in excavated burrows/forest litter, once or twice a year.
 
Courtship fairly simple w/ male nudging/shoving female, then mounting her. During mating, he’ll stretch neck as far as possible & open mouth in wide gape, emitting low moaning hisses.
 
Males reach maturity before females.

Fun Fact(s):
Have hybridized w/ closely related species in captivity.

Named after English naturalist/surgeon Everard Home.
 
When threatened, they can partially retract head into shell & cover opening w/ front legs.
 
They’ve been seen using flood waters to float to different areas.
 
Get hingeback name due to ability to clamp down rear portion of shell to protect vulnerable tail/back legs.
 
These tortoises don’t make the best pets.

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