Common Name: Greek Tortoise
Scientific Name: Testudo Graeca Graeca
Current Size: 5"+/-
Average Adult Size: 6-9" (females larger)
Area of Origin: Middle East
Description: Light yellowish tan color with a darker brown patch in the center of most scutes of the shell. They are somewhat of a high domed tortoise, and most Greek tortoises maintain a "glossy" looking shell through life. As babies, these Greek tortoises look very similar to baby Hermanns tortoises with a much lighter yellow overall color. This subspecies of Greek tortoise tends to have a red or orange color to the head and arms - which isn't as present in any other Greek tortoise type.
Habitat: Mediterranean tortoises, these animals live in sandy desert areas where they come and go from their burrows in order to maintain the ideal temperatures. There is some debate whether this type of Greek tortoise hibernates naturally, although it will in captivity and seems to help in the reproduction efforts if they are allowed to hibernate. As adults, they can safely handle body temperatures as low as 35 degrees during hibernation, and on cold spring, summer or fall months, they will retreat underground to maintain some warmth. Summer highs up to 110 degrees can be tolerated as long as there is a cooler, underground retreat the tortoise can get into. In hot climates, they will spend much of the summer days in burrows or simply buried under an inch or two of earth.
Diet: This tortoise is naturally a browser, eating broadleaf weeds and low leaves from bushes and shrubs. In captivity, Hermanns tortoises will graze on leafy weeds, dandelion, clover, and most other leafy greens provided to them. As babies, we focus more on feeding them a wide mix of leafy greens (spring mix). Vegetables can be added to the diet for variety, but fruit should generally be avoided or given as no more than 5-10% of the diet.
Adult Behavior: Adult Greek tortoises are active, busy tortoises when the temperatures are in their ideal ranges (60-90 degrees). They are un-aggressive towards eachother in most cases, and can be kept in groups. The mating habits can create some problems as sometimes will ram at each other to establish dominance through the ranks. Most will eagerly come to their keepers looking for food once they are comfortable in their environments. They can be good climbers and will make attempts to escape, so perimeter fences should be buried at least 6-12" underground, and sidewalls 12-16" above ground will normally contain them.
These tortoises are wild caught, imported in August 2012. We have run them through a preventative round of de-worming, but they should still be quarantined from existing collections until they are more well established in captivity.