Afghan tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii)
The Afghan tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii) has a rounded upper shell, known as the carapace, which is almost as broad as it is long. The upper shell varies in colour from uniformly light brown to yellowish-brown with extensive dark brown markings on each scute, while the lower shell, or plastron, is black with yellow seams. The head and limbs are yellowish-brown, with the jaws being noticeably darker and the neck, especially in younger specimens, tending to be lighter and more yellowish in colour.
The front legs are heavily armoured with prominent overlapping scales . Spur-like scales are present on each heel and blunt tubercles are found on each thigh, while the tail ends in a horny claw. Unlike all other Testudo tortoises, which have five toes on their forelimbs, this species only has four, resulting in one of its common names, the ‘four-toed tortoise’.