Early spring population parameters and activity of wild Namaqualand speckled padlopers (Homopus signatus signatus) were monitored using mark-recapture and thread-trailing methods. Eighty-three tortoises were studied between 22 August and 22 September 2000. The maximum number of scute rings counted was 14, with females appearing to have longer lives than males. Tortoises were encountered on rock slabs, on a rocky hill slope, and frequented adjacent, gently sloping fields with many flowering plants. The frequent use of shallow concealed crevices as hiding places may be, in part, caused by greater availability of such refuges. Single specimens were usually found in refugia, but occasionally male-female pairs were observed. The shelter types identified (rock and spaces under shrubs) were rarely used for more than one night. Activity was unimodal. Activity area and daily movements were lower in H. s. signatus than in other tortoise species, possibly because of their smaller body size, cooler ambient spring temperatures during this study, a short measurement period, smaller habitat requirement of H. s. signatus, or some combination of the four.
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