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Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca)

The Greek Tortoises or Spur-Thigh Tortoises can be highly variable in size and color, as well in their care requirements. This is because their places of origination cover a huge geographic range on over three continents. Consequently there are varying environments that these tortoises have adapted to, producing a large number of varieties. There are currently at least 20 published subspecies with new ones constantly being discovered

Greek Tortoises natural environments include Southern Spain, Northern Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Their average size is 6 - 7 inches and can live up to fifty years. There are so many subspecies of the Greek Tortoise, the appearance varies widely. Colors can range from olive with dark spots in the middle of each scute to a golden variety that is almost all yellow in color. In all subspecies, the male is smaller than the female.

The dietary requirements are pretty much the same for all forms of Greek tortoise regardless of the region they come from in that they will eat dark leafy greens, broad leaf plants, fibrous fruits such as apples and pears. They will also take berries such as strawberries, blueberries and the like. The fruits and berries should be a small portion of their diet with the dark leafy greens and broad leaf plants making up the majority of their diet. Although the Greek tortoises are not known grazers they will consume grasses. Water should be provided at all times.

Greek Tortoises like to bask so you should provide them with an area in which they can bask that is about 95 degrees F. The remainder of the habitat should provide a heat gradient with the coolest spot at 75 degrees F. Greek tortoises need to be kept between 85-92 degrees during the day and the temperature can drop to about 65 at night. These tortoises are capable of imitating hibernation if kept outdoors.

Greek tortoises require 12-14 hours of UVB light for proper health and growth. This light enables the tortoise to produce vitamin D3. The vitamin D3 produced by UVB metabolizes the calcium in the tortoises’diet. In general, it is what makes the animals bones hard, and without it they can die. This process of inadequate UVB and calcium is called Metabolic Bone Disease. When kept outdoors, no UVB lighting is needed, natural sunlight covers all requirements

Captive born Greek tortoises do very well for the average owner. They are very outgoing and spunky! They are timid when chased or teased, but otherwise make great beginner pets.