What Is the Smallest Kind of Turtle?

smallest-kind-turtle Credit: Matt Hansen Photography. Dynamic Wildlife Photography/Moment/Getty Images

The speckled padloper tortoise, scientific name Homopus signatus, is the smallest turtle species in the world. Adults of the species reach a maximum length of 3 inches and weigh just 3 ounces.

The speckled padloper tortoise is native to the arid region of western Cape Province in South Africa. The tortoise has four claws on its back feet. The honeycombed shells of males are light brown with dark speckles, while females have darker shells with fewer spots. Commonly seen along narrow trails and pathways, the turtle forages for food along rocky crevices, which provide protection from cold temperatures and rain.