Do Leopard Tortoises Make Good Pets? Please Read Before Buying

Do leopard tortoises make good pets?

Leopard tortoises, named for the pattern on their shell, are a large species of tortoise that require a lot of room and warm temperatures. There are many different species of tortoises and many of them make great pets. So you may be wondering if a leopard tortoise would make a good pet. 

Leopard tortoises are great pets for the right owner but require a very large living space, lots of food, and can often outlive their owners. So if you are prepared to care for this large long-lived reptile they might just be the perfect pet for you. 

They are typically docile and don’t tend to get up to as much mischief as the sulcata, so they are a relatively easy tortoise to take on as a pet. That is with the understanding that you are prepared to provide the right environment and diet. 

In this article, we will go over some of the main traits and behaviors of a leopard tortoise. We will also go over how to properly house and care for a leopard tortoise and how to choose the right leopard tortoise as a pet. This information should help you to determine whether or not a leopard tortoise would make a good pet for you. 

Do Leopard Tortoises Make Good Pets?

Leopard tortoises are one of the largest species of tortoises. The name ‘leopard tortoise’ comes from the markings on its shell that resemble the same sort of pattern as a leopard’s coat. 

Leopard tortoises make great pets as long as you’re committed to taking care of them and that you have ample space available so that your leopard tortoise is comfortable. Leopard tortoises usually grow to around 10-18 inches long as adults and they tend to weigh around 40 to 50 pounds on average. 

The life expectancy of a leopard tortoise is around 50 to 100 years. This is why you should consider if you are committed to caring for your leopard tortoise on a long-term basis before you decide to house one as a pet.  

Size, lifespan, and housing needs are the biggest considerations you need to think about before purchasing a leopard tortoise.

Do Leopard Tortoises Make Good Pets For Kids?

Oftentimes people are interested in getting a pet for their child as opposed to seeking a pet for themselves. If this is you then you might be wondering if leopard tortoises make good pets for kids? 

Leopard tortoises can make good pets for kids, however, you will need to take full responsibility for the leopard tortoise. After all, a child is not equipped to make a decision on a pet that could live as long as they do. 

Because of this, you will need to make sure that you are ready for the commitment of a pet leopard tortoise. That said, a leopard tortoise could bring a lot of joy for a kid to have as a pet. 

Leopard Tortoise Temperament

Similar to other types of tortoises, the leopard tortoise is quiet, slow, and not aggressive. They are generally good-natured and make a great, calm type of pet. 

They are not likely to bite people and don’t tend to respond to frequent handling. If a leopard tortoise feels threatened in any way, it will usually just retreat into its shells for a while. 

Compared to other tortoises, leopard tortoises need a little bit more care and maintenance. They require a large area for living, protection from cooler temperatures, and also require a varied nutritious diet. 

Below is an overview of the behavior and temperament of a leopard tortoise:

  • Slow
  • Quiet
  • Not aggressive
  • Retreat into their shells for defense
  • Don’t burrow or climb much

Are You Prepared To House A Leopard Tortoise?

There are a number of things that you should consider before you decide to own a leopard tortoise. See the list below for the things that you need to consider when caring for a leopard tortoise:

Location and Climate

If you live in a cold area, you should probably think twice about owning a leopard tortoise. Since they need hot temperatures throughout the year, it may be difficult for you to care for them year-round. Due to their need for sunlight and their size, leopard tortoises are best kept in large outdoor enclosures for as much of the year as possible. 

There are ways around this if you can build an enclosure inside that can fit the space requirements. Of course, this will take up quite a bit of space. Most people are going to have to build an indoor space of some sort for their tortoise during the winter months.

If you can’t keep your leopard tortoise outside all year round, then you will need to build a substantial indoor pen. This needs to be an enclosure that is at least 10 feet by 10 feet and the walls should be at least 2 feet high. 

Of course, when they are babies they can easily be kept indoors in a typical reptile enclosure. They will, of course, require the proper lighting and temperatures when kept indoors. Once they reach their full size, however, they will require a large enclosure.

Keeping Your Leopard Tortoise Secure

If you are planning on keeping your leopard tortoise in an outdoor enclosure, you must ensure that it has somewhere within the enclosure where it can hide. You will need to ensure that your enclosure is fenced all around so that your tortoise feels safe and secure and so that it is constantly protected from predators. 

The tortoise should be housed in an enclosure that closely resembles its natural habitat. You can do this by providing alfalfa and other types of grasses for the tortoise to graze on. You should also put a small, shallow bowl of water in the enclosure to provide a drink for the tortoise, but make sure the tortoise can’t get stuck in the bowl. 

Provide some bare ground beneath the pen so that the tortoise can dig a little if they wish to. They will also need exposure to the sun, so ensure the enclosure has a basking area where the tortoise can soak up some vitamin D as this is essential for their health. 

You should clean your tortoise’s pen regularly by removing any visible waste and you should also clean and refresh the water dish daily. 

Choosing The Right Leopard Tortoise

As there are restrictions on importing leopard tortoises, you will need to make sure that you are getting one from a trusted and reputable breeder. The breeder should be able to provide you with documentation on the history of the animal along with health records. 

You can expect to pay around $100-$1000 for a leopard tortoise. The price goes up for older tortoises as the cost to raise them and thrive them into adulthood is factored into the cost of the animal. You should observe your leopard tortoise before you commit to taking it on as a pet. A healthy tortoise will have clear eyes and a smooth shell. 

You should also observe its eating habits. Leopard tortoises are known for eating a lot. So with this in mind, if you offer your tortoise food and it doesn’t take it, this could be a sign that the tortoise has a health problem or is unwell. 


As leopard tortoises have an average life span of 80-100 years, it’s important to remember that this animal could live longer than you. You should always ensure that you have arrangements for someone to take on the care and maintenance of your tortoise if it outlives you or if you are unable to care for it anymore. 

Below is an overview of the things that you should look out for when selecting a leopard tortoise to take home as a pet:

  • Always choose a reputable breeder
  • Ask for documentation of the animal’s health and history
  • Observe the animal to ensure it is healthy
  • Offer the animal food to ensure it is in good health 
  • Always ensure to make arrangements for someone to look after your tortoise if it outlives you or if you become unable to take care of it

Is The Leopard Tortoise A Good Pet For You?

As long as you have ample space and as long as you are willing to care for your tortoise appropriately, leopard tortoises do make great pets. They are not the most fun pet, so may not be the most suitable pet for children. However, they are relatively easy to care for. 

Leopard tortoises live for many years and often outlive humans, so they make a great long-term pet for someone who is committed. As long as you live in an area that is not too cold, and you have ample space available so that your leopard tortoise can live comfortably, it would make a great pet. 

They are docile, slow, sweet, and don’t tend to get up to any mischief. With this in mind, they would make great pets for anyone prepared to take care of them on a long-term basis. If you are still not sure I would suggest reading out my complete leopard tortoise care guide

Recent Posts