- Kingdom: Animalia.
- Phylum: Chordata.
- Class: Reptilia.
- Order: Testudines.
- Suborder: Cryptodira.
- Family: Testudinidae.
- Genus: Testudo.
- Species: hermanni.
Distribution and habitat
- The Hermann’s tortoise can be found throughout southern Europe.
- T. h. hermanni is found in Spain, France, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and central Italy.
- T. h. boettgeri is found in Italy, the Balkans, Turkey and Greece.
- These tortoises are active during the day and spend time basking in the sunshine.
- They tend to be more active earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon.
- After spending the winter months hibernating, they emerge from under bushes in late February.
- The Hermann’s tortoise has been listed under the IUCN as near threatened. This is due to habitat destruction and poaching for the pet trade.
- Young tortoises are vulnerable to predators and can fall prey to rats, wild board, badges, foxes, magpies and more.
- As they mature, predators are less of a threat as they cannot get through their tough shell, however the lifespan can vary from 70-120 years with correct care and nutrition.
- Mainly leafy greens, legumes, grasses and clover Chelonia nutrition.
- Adding calcium and vitamin D3 supplements in captivity is advised. Follow the manufacturers guidelines at all times.
- Occurs after hibernation, around late February.
- The females are bitten on the legs by the male before being mounted.
- Females dig nests into the soil to lay eggs into. More than one clutch is usually laid each season Chelonia reproduction.
- Incubation lasts around 90 days.
- Temperature determines the sex of the hatchlings; incubating at 30-31°C/86-87.8°F will produce mixed sex, whilst temperatures over 31°C/87.8°F will produce predominantly female offspring, and lower temperatures will produce males.
- All hatchlings will spend their time near the nest site at least until their carapace has fully developed.
- Very common.
- The correct housing must be provided including a UVB day lamp.
- To ensure a successful hibernation period, the tortoises can be kept in a dark place with a thick layer of dry substance Hibernation/brumation.
- The temperature should be around 5°C/41°F.
- Full grown tortoises can hibernate for up to 4 or 5 months at a time.
- Care should be taken to ensure rodents cannot get into the tortoise whilst in hibernation.
- Eggs will take around 120 days to hatch.
- Breeding takes place after hibernation, usually in February.
- Ensure the diet is based mainly on leafy greens; additions can be greens, grasses, flowers and small amounts of fruit.
- Diet supplementation will provide optimum nutrition; supplements include calcium, vitamins and minerals.
- Always follow the manufacturers guidelines on dosage to avoid over/under supplementation.
This article is available in full to registered subscribers
Sign up now to obtain ten tokens to view any ten Vetlexicon articles, images, sounds or videos, or Login
Other sources of information
- Petopedia (2018) All About Hermann’s Tortoises. Website: petopedia.petscorner.co.uk. Last accessed 30th January 2018.
- Northampton Reptile Centre (2018) Hermann’s Tortoise Care Sheet. Website: www.reptilecentre.com. Last accessed 30th January 2018.
- Pollock C (2015) Basic Information Sheet: Hermann’s Tortoise. Website: https://lafeber.com. Last accessed 14th July 2018.
- Chitty J & Raftery A (2013) Biology. In: Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 25.
- Chitty J & Raftery A (2013) Follicular Stasis. In: Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 200-201.
- Chitty J & Raftery A (2013) Generalised Oedema and Anasarca. In: Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 248-249.
- Chitty J & Raftery A (2013) Soft Tissue Masses. In: Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 233.
- Lavender L (2012) Testudo hermanni. Website: http://animaldiversity.org. Last accessed 15th July 2018.
- Mosier J (2009) Hermanns Tortoise Pet Care. In: Unusual Pet Care Volume 3. 3rd edn. Zoological Education Network Limited, USA. pp 92-95.
- Vitt L & Caldwell J (2009) Reproduction and Reproductive Modes. In: Herpetology - An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd edn. Elsevier, UK. pp 122.
- van Dijk P P, Corti C, Mellado V P & Cheylan M (2004) Testudo hermanni. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Website: www.iucnredlist.org. Last accessed 15th July 2018.
- Marschang R & Chitty J (2004) Infectious Disease. In: BSAVA Manual of Reptiles. 2nd edn. Eds: Girling S & Raiti P. BSAVA, UK. pp 331.
- O'Shea M & Halliday T (2002) Reptiles. In: Reptiles & Amphibians. Ed: Avery R. Dorling Kindersley, UK. pp 56.