Ark Galactapedia

Leyland's Tortoise
  • Indigenous to

    Earth (Sol III)

  • Also found

    on Saisei (Centauri III) and Locke (Idris IV)

Leyland's Tortoise

Leyland’s tortoise is a species of tortoise indigenous to Earth (Sol III). They have glossy shells with minor color variation around the scutes and the edges of the shells. Extremely docile, they are kept as pets by Humans, especially long-haul spacers. Over-collection and habitat destruction have made them nearly extinct in the wild.


Leyland’s tortoises have smooth, domed shells in shades of green, yellow, and brown. The shell is relatively smooth; even if the tortoise matured in harsh conditions, the shell shows little to no scute pyramiding. The edges of the shell flare out slightly at the sides. The plastron is usually yellow, with green edging where it connects to the shell. The back end of the plastron is indented in a V-shape, underneath which is a small, nubby tail. Each of the tortoise’s four legs ends with five claws.

Range and Behavior

The original habitat of Leyland’s tortoise was limited to the South American continent, along the Andes mountains and into the central rainforest. Due to habitat destruction, the only remaining wild breeding population of Leyland’s tortoise on Earth is found along the Amazon river in protected areas of rainforest. Attempts to establish Leyland’s tortoise on other planets have been met with limited success; Saisei (Centauri III) and Locke (Idris IV) both sustain minor Leyland’s tortoise populations. In 2875, conservationists attempted to introduce the tortoise to Lo (Corel III). However, Banu residents of the planet consumed it at an unsustainable rate. The population did not take hold.

The tortoises are foragers, most active in the late afternoon until sunset, with a smaller window of high activity from sunrise to midmorning. Seeds, greens, fruit, invertebrates, roots, grasses, and fungi form the bulk of the tortoise’s diet. Over 50% of its day is spent at rest in shared burrows with other tortoises. After consuming a large meal, a tortoise might rest, totally immobile, for up to a week at a time.

Pet Trade

Leyland’s tortoises are popular pets due to their docility, low-cost diet, long lifespan, and adaptability to varying conditions. They are easily kept aboard most spacecraft in roofless enclosures 2 meters wide, 2 meters long, and 50 centimeters high. Plenty of shady spots and heated areas should be provided along with shelter and water. Ideally, a tortoise should not be kept alone. It is recommended that owners choose companions of the same sex to discourage unintentional breeding.

Because the tortoise is nearly extinct in the wild, it is illegal to own one that has been captured instead of captively bred. Any person within the UEE found with a wild-caught Leyland’s tortoise in their possession is subject to fine and arrest.