Beaked cape tortoise.jpg
Common padloper (Homopus areolatus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Homopus
A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1834[1]


Homopus is a genus of tiny tortoises in the family Testudinidae, endemic to southern Africa. Three species have been moved to the genus Chersobius.[citation needed]


As a group, these closely related species are commonly known in Europe and Africa as padlopers (originally meaning "path-walkers" in Afrikaans), due to their habit of making tiny pathways through vegetation.[2][3] In other parts of the world, such as the United States, they are known as Cape tortoises.[1][4]


The genus is indigenous and endemic to South Africa.


The genus contains these species:

Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
Beaked cape tortoise.jpg
common padloper or parrot-beaked tortoise Homopus areolatus southern Cape coastal region, the most common padloper species.[5]
Greater Padloper - RSA.jpg
greater padloper or Karoo cape tortoise [sic] Homopus femoralis [6] the highveld grasslands, the largest of the padlopers.[7]

Conservation and captivity

They are threatened by habitat destruction,[4] traffic on roads, overgrazing, and poaching for the pet trade.[7] Another threat comes from introduced species, such as domestic dogs and pigs.[citation needed]

Among the Homopus species, H. areolatus adapts well to captivity, as their diets are not highly specialized.[3] The others do not generally survive well in captivity unless some effort is made to supply them with their natural food, that is, endemic plants from the Cape/Karoo regions.[3] Many are taken from their natural habitat each year, and subsequently die as a result, as they do not readily adapt to typical captive diets and environment change.[3] However, they can be very hardy in captivity, and most problems with captive care are caused by faulty nutrition, high humidity, or bad husbandry.[3]


  1. ^ a b ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). www.itis.gov.
  2. ^ "Homopus Research Foundation, reports". Home.caiway.nl. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  3. ^ a b c d e Corton, M., Homopus (Padloper Tortoise) Care, World Chelonian Trust (retrieved August 20, 2013).
  4. ^ a b Obst, J.; Richter, K.; Jacob, U. (1988). The Completely Illustrated Atlas of Reptiles and Amphibians for the Terrarium. T.F.H. press.
  5. ^ "Scarce Home". Academic.sun.ac.za. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  6. ^ Rhodin, Anders G.J.; van Dijk, Peter Paul; Iverson, John B.; Shaffer, H. Bradley (2010-12-14). "Turtles of the World 2010 Update: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution and Conservation Status" (PDF). p. 000.116. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  7. ^ a b "Homopus Research Foundation". Home.caiway.nl. Retrieved 2017-07-17.