Mediterranean Tortoise: Description, Habitat and More

If you are a pet lover, in this article you will find information about the Mediterranean Tortoise. So they are very famous and sought after among reptiles. These wonderful and funny animals are excellent companions, in this article you will be able to know their characteristics, where they live, among other generalities of these animals.


Mediterranean Turtle

The Mediterranean Tortoise is a herbivorous reptile, which can live up to 75 years just like human beings, this magnificent land tortoise is of European origin. In recent years they have welcomed it with the excuse of having it as a pet, endangering its reproduction. Its scientific name is “Testudo hermanni”, which is in honor of the French naturalist and physician Jean Hermann.

Mediterranean tortoises are divided into two types of races, western and eastern, which in turn are among the eight species of tortoises that exist in the world. What makes this tortoise so different is that its chest does not have the characteristic mark of the western subspecies.


The Mediterranean tortoise is identified by having a very particular tail, this tail is like a scale or nail that it has at the end. Its color is bright, although due to old age it can lose its natural color. As in other species of animals males can be smaller than females. Western tortoises are native to Spain in the north, in France in the south, in Italy in the northwest.

They are also located on the islands of the western Mediterranean. The Mediterranean tortoise can grow to between 15 and 18 centimeters in length. Unlike their eastern family, they have more radiant colors, with their bark, which is the shell, a little more arched. The characteristics of the turtle are corresponding to the place where they live. Most are light heavy. Something very remarkable about this specimen is that they reach sexual maturity in nine years.

The measurements for a mature hermanni tortoise are about XNUMX centimeters for males and females can measure up to XNUMX centimeters. They have an orange back color with black spots. The chest joint is a bit small compared to the Purple Tortoise. It also has a yellowish pigment below the eyes. His hole-shaped shield has a distinctive drawing.


How can they be identified?

The safest seal that characterizes it is that of the two dark stripes that circulate through the breadth of the plastron. This part of the tortoise is very vulnerable, as eastern tortoises do not have it. In this form, the Mediterranean tortoise is native to Albania and Greece, the old-fashioned regions of Yugoslavia. Its shell is not as arched as those of the western race.

On the other hand, these turtles grow a little more than 20 centimeters approximately. Their brands are more identified than those of their cousins. In each specimen the differences they have in particular are shown. That yellow spot, which they have in the back of the eye, is strange, however certain turtles have them.

Males are identified by their tail, which is protected next to their member. While females, like other animal species, have their sexual organ removed from the excretory cavity. Another way to distinguish the age of a turtle is to look and count some lines that it has on the shell. This is something similar to the rings that the bark of a tree has.


The Mediterranean tortoise, mainly are very active animals. So they like to be in constant movement. In this way, it is necessary to protect your home or the space where you live. Like any other reptile, the tortoise is cold-blooded, so it should bask in the sun as soon as the day begins, so it will be filled with energy and grow strong.


Enjoying the sun does you good for vitamin D, which helps keep your shell stronger. What this specimen likes to do the most is to open holes. It is believed that when it opens holes it is because it needs a shelter from the high heat temperatures. After spending a hot season, he leaves his shelter.

Being from a wild habitat, she has instincts that make her independent. She should not be kept in captivity for so long, as this can also affect her emotional state. Although it is much requested as a pet, it is not pleasant for this species to have it locked up. For their survival in the world they must reproduce, which being domesticated is not so easy if they do not have the company of their own species.

The goal of creating a suitable environment for the Mediterranean tortoise is to keep them happy. Therefore they must be established in a very diverse environment of small climates. It is very similar to human beings, who require a cool place and in some periods a tropical environment.

Turtles also need this environment, where it is possible for them to develop. Therefore, whoever is taking care of the turtles must be sure that there is a place for drainage. On the other hand, where the turtles live, it must be a high space, which is only intended for their life as a pet.

The enclosure can be built, creating a small hill of earth mixed with sand. It can measure between thirty and sixty centimeters high. Similarly, the space has to be cool in some places, that is, with shade. It is also of great importance that it catches the sun's rays directly. Since turtles like and love sunbathing very much.

outdoor habitat

Because the Mediterranean tortoise likes to play a lot, and they are very active. In the same way, they must have enough space, which is enough for their mobilization and recreational games. Owners are recommended to leave an extension for the pet, of about 10 square meters.

If you do not have a natural environment for your pet, start thinking about having a pet of another species that is less active. In case you still want to keep a Mediterranean tortoise as a pet, you would have to make a very well planned habitat, in particular for your home.

Domestic Mediterranean Tortoise

The Mediterranean tortoise, as its natural origin is Mediterranean, are not exposed to climates lower than twenty-one degrees Celsius (21º). So, if an individual lives in a tropical place and wants to have a Mediterranean tortoise at home. He will have to prepare his home to house one of these turtles.

For some Mediterranean tortoise owners, they try to keep them indoors for as long as possible. So then take them out to another much more natural space and let them take in the fresh air. In case there is good weather. By having both spaces at your disposal, this would be a great resource to serve you.

Since the turtle would know of a closed world that is inside the house and another where it has the freedom to spend time in a fenced orchard. In addition to the space where the turtle lives, you must create a light bulb, this will expose an ultraviolet light, which acts as the sun's rays.


This light would give the turtles the condensation of vitamin D in their body. This place would be appropriate to grant a temperature in the inner part of space, so as to be about twenty-six or about twenty-seven degrees Celsius.

There are a large number of owners who are successful in breeding Mediterranean tortoises. The reason for this is that they use a light bulb of only about 45 watts. Which makes the lamps they promote in reptile shops unnecessary.

The turtles opt for the temperature that the lamp transmits, more than what it provides, due to the ideal ambient temperature that the aforementioned mats offer. Just like the outdoor environment, the inside has to be welcoming. However, when you think of all the work that goes into making an enclosure for the Mediterranean tortoise, it looks difficult.

Well, it is not that complicated, all that is needed is to place a lamp with sufficient temperature. It should be placed on one side of a wooden box, so the other side of the box will be left fresh. If you have a Mediterranean tortoise, it will like it very much if you keep it part of the time on a tree bark. This will help you rest, be in a moment of peace or simply sleep.


The problem of protections and shells, which occur very frequently, is due to calcium failure. Likewise this can be caused by the appropriate absorptions of calcium, but high in phosphorus. This artificial consequence brings an unprecedented reciprocity with decomposed calcium and phosphorus. In the same way it prevents this turtle from being able to assimilate calcium.

One of the best ways to supply calcium to the domestic Mediterranean tortoise is to give it a shellfish bone. It is found in any fishmonger or animal store. In the space where the turtle lives, it is left for it to chew whenever it wants.

After this, the diet that is going to be provided to your pet, the beautiful Mediterranean tortoise. From now on you will have to eat green leafy plants, as well as weeds and flowers. The usual patterns are:

  • Roses and lilacs.
  • Ice plants and blackberries.
  • Ragwort and banana leaves.
  • Clover and Chickweed.
  • Watercress and dandelion.
  • Hibiscus and wild lupine.
  • Romaine lettuce and escarole.

Mediterranean tortoises should be fed as much as possible for half an hour, this should be done five days a week. Green salads wrap everything you need for good nutrition.

To prevent vitamin deficiency, it's best to make sure you have the right vitamins. What I supplement is an excellent multivitamin. When choosing the product you have to be careful, because there are lower quality products.


Consequences of a poor diet

The Mediterranean tortoise is mainly herbivorous. These tortoises can go looking for food as slowly as a snail or a worm in the yard. You can never give meat to feed them. You can't give him any cat food or dog food. They are theories exercised by the owners of turtles, who have had erroneous information. These mistakes should not be made because of poor orientation.

Like other species of this type, they cannot easily assimilate albuminoids. So your digestive system is very particular. Special care must be taken with regard to feeding. Because even lentils and chickpeas can affect your organs, such as the liver and kidneys.

The content of grains is highly harmful to your body. This is because the acid is against the nutrition of the turtles. This besieges the retention of calcium in its body, which is a mineral of great importance for the sustenance and assimilation of nutrients of a turtle.

What weakness does he have?

The species as such, is exclusively very exposed to manifest its fragility or delicacy in the shell and protection. This situation is completely avoidable. As long as it is a diet that has a lot of calcium and little phosphorus. Unfortunately, some turtles get some forms of pyramids in shells.

An epidemic has been created among domestic turtles, and worst of all, it is neither prevented nor treated. Since the owners believe that it is normal or common for shells to come out with that type of shape. The epidemic in the domestic Mediterranean tortoise is due to poor nutrition that is not nutritious. This is why your body rejects it with the result of the shells.


hibernation stage

Certain species of turtles do not necessarily hibernate. Although others do not do it for the simple fact of having a comfortable habitat, in which they do not need food or water. On the contrary, the Mediterranean tortoise does hibernate, which makes them very unusual.

No matter the conditions, they continuously go into hibernation. If you own a Mediterranean tortoise, do not turn a blind eye, quite the opposite. You must prepare a conditioned place for your pet to hibernate.

How to prepare a hibernation place?

You must fundamentally consider and always keep in mind that the temperature for the Mediterranean tortoise is paramount. For them to hibernate, a constant temperature of four or ten degrees Celsius is needed. If in case the temperature drops in the hibernation stage, this could cause irreparable damage. It can affect the nervous system, which would lead to loss of sight, confusion or bewilderment, and even death.

In this way, one of the best ideas to build a hibernation space would be to install a small cardboard box. On the outside of the small box, also place another slightly larger box. This box can be made of cardboard or wood.

Then any insulating material would be introduced around it. As are polyethylene and bits of egg carton. By the time the heat reaches ten degrees Celsius, it's perfect for waking your tortoise from its long sleep.


For that moment, you can move the box to a warmer place for a while and after this process, take the turtle out. Previously, many believed that there was some risk of moving or causing them to wake up. It was better that she wake up from her dream alone, although this has nothing to do with it.

Upon returning from hibernation, the first thing the tortoise would do is hydrate itself. That is to say that the owner must take care of having water in the space where he lives. She must drink water immediately, if she so desires. Since the time it spends in hibernation wears down its moisture it has plain as natural.


The Mediterranean tortoise is constantly mating, that is, the entire annual cycle, at any time of the year. Although the time to reproduce is spring and summer, primarily through sunsets.

Naturally, one has the expectation of a very sophisticated ritual, since it is a very active and lively species. These rituals are very powerful and well done. The males capture and nibble on the female. They maintain a battle until they obtain the power of mating.


Sadly, females sometimes get hurt by the insistent behavior of the male. The injuries they inflict on females are often severe. Owners must always be ready to see if there are major injuries. If so, probable contamination must be avoided, since if it is not cured, flies can settle on the turtle. If this occurs in a cut injury. In less than a day, larvae that are worms are created, and in this case it must be attended to as quickly as possible.

For the protection of female tortoises, some tortoise owners prefer the option to distance Mediterranean tortoises. For this case the females and males should move away. This option can be chosen by the owner of the turtles if they like, it is not mandatory to do so. Later they would come together again in the season of births.

If you are a great caretaker, you will want to have different yearly litters. If so, you can have them reproducing all year long, since they have several litters in the year. In this way the turtles do not have just one offspring but many. They can even have up to 2 or 3 offspring a year.

nesting process

At that time when the female begins to lay her eggs, she must lay them somewhere in the enclosure. For this she must maintain a drain, where she will empty her eggs in that area. If it is a place that is outside of her house, it would be a great idea if she provided a specific location.

For the female, it will not be complicated if she finds a small hill in her habitat to lay her eggs. You must know where she is placing her pups, so she doesn't miss any. It is very curious to note that the females create their own pit, which they use their small legs to open that cavity.

She cleans her area and it looks like a nest at the end. Those who own Mediterranean tortoises have commented that the specimens do this in the evenings. The bottom that leads to these holes is about 7 to 9 centimeters deep.

Being very happy with her burrow, the female is ready to start laying her eggs. The eggs can be made up of only one and up to 12 hatchlings. The smartest thing about all this is that at the end, she covers her eggs to protect it from those who can steal it. Something very extraordinary and amazing about this species is that the sex is defined by the degrees of heat that they have in the period that they must incubate.

If the heat is around twenty-six degrees Celsius, males are born. When passing thirty-one degrees Celsius, females are born. This is one of the reasons why Mediterranean tortoise breeders prefer to take control of incubation. This can be done with a heater or mechanical devices that produce heat.

What to do after birth?

After a stage of ninety to one hundred and twenty days, the eggs begin to break and open until the new hatchlings come out. Newborn turtles need water and food just like adults. They demand very explicit care, they should be sprayed with a little water and to hydrate them give them a dropper to drink.

It is very important to know how to feed newborn turtles. They should not be fed until they are 2 or 3 days old. They can be fed in the same way as mature turtles.


What diseases can present?

First of all, it is necessary to know what are the diseases that the Mediterranean tortoise can present. So if you own one, there are a few things to consider. The Mediterranean tortoise can sometimes face the respiratory passage that is the most frequent among them.


In case the tortoise begins to have distemper discharge and has watery eyes, this is due to different reasons. First, it should be visualized if the turtle has something abnormal in its nostrils. If nothing is found, the sitter will need to take your pet to a veterinarian. This is to make a diagnosis if you have had an infection or it is another disease.

The most frequent reasons why a turtle gets sick is that they maintain a poor diet. Having the turtle a poor diet will cause weakness in its entire immune system.

In the same way, that the turtle is exposed to harmful situations (dirty). Just like having any kind of approach with other domestic species and leaking into your home, they are causes of danger.

Turtles can also face a very common disease among them called stomatitis. This disease consists of white elements piling up near the tongue and mouth. One recommendation is that you can go to the vet and he will give you cotton sticks with iodine, the usual thing is that it does not take a few days to heal.


The Mediterranean tortoise can also suffer from diarrhea, which is very common among them. This is because they have a poor diet and sometimes what they eat is simply miserable. Sometimes they consume too much sweet and less fiber.

The reasons a turtle gets sick with diarrhea can have many factors. In the Mediterranean tortoise, certain parasites can also be found in their intestines that they must expel as soon as possible. When they go to hibernate, very special care must be taken with the temperatures so that there are no negative consequences.

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