Greek Tortoise Care Guide & Info

greek tortoise

Do you consider getting a Greek Tortoise as your new pet? Great choice!

Tortoises are excellent pet material. But talk of Greek tortoise, and there is no way a herp enthusiast is going to turn down the offer!

Why Greek tortoises are great pets

  • Greek tortoises are easy going. It is quite essential to note that they have specific needs to be met.
  • They are amicable and courteous creatures that take to human presence in a concise time
  • They make enjoyable companions for children unless and until they are not handling them too much. This is because they can carry a lot of infections and parasites which they can pass to children, having not very strong immune systems.
  • They are mellow and not too aggressive, save a couple of them.

There is one thing that every person who wants to adopt a tortoise must deliberate upon. Tortoises typically have very long lifespans, and there is a tendency for them to outlive their caretakers. With this premise in mind, are you ready to take care of them?

Okay, since you choose to read further, we are presuming that you have thought about it already and are ready to bring one (or a few) home. What are we waiting for then? Let’s get to this head-on!

The Greek Tortoise or Testudo Gracia’s natural geographical range is quite extensive. You will find the creature not just in the African continent but also in Asia and Europe.

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Its habitat is as extensive as its range. From arid deserts to rockiest mountains to scrublands to forest and fields, you name it, and it will be found there. Because they are found over such a large patch of area, there are a lot of species that look very similar to each other.

Here are the names:

  • Ibera Greek tortoise
  • Libyan Greek tortoise
  • North African Greek tortoise
  • Golden Greek tortoise
  • Tunisian Greek tortoise

The Ibera and the golden Greek tortoise are the most common in the pet trade. During the last decade, the US has seen a lot of import of Greek tortoises, and most of them carried harmful parasites and deadly diseases. Unfortunately, most of them did not receive adequate medical attention and could not survive.

Of the few that did receive care were actively bred. It is heartening to note that the pet stores in and around America have been receiving excellent and healthy stock from these breeders. 

greek tortoise sand

Appearance of the Greek tortoise

A Greek tortoise has a high carapace that is perfectly dome-shaped. The plastron will look as if it’s hinged on to the carapace with a thick bridge of skin. The carapace has lots of regal colors like golden yellow and dark chocolate brown or ash black on it.

The patterns on the carapace are so vivid that it includes flecks, rays, spots as well as thick borders.

How did the Greek Tortoise get its name?

The varied pattern on the tortoise’s carapace resembles Greek mosaic tiles, and that is how it derives its name. The tortoise is also referred to often as the Mediterranean spur thigh tortoise because it has raised scales like spurs on each side of its thigh.

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The head is more blunt than sharp and has large eyes on it. The tortoise has powerful claws, and the tail is undivided.

greek tortoise grass

Why do experts stress on buying captive-bred than the ones from the wild?

Tortoises have known vectors of parasites, and that is why it is stressed from time to time only to buy captive bred ones to have healthy ones at your home. Tortoises that are caught from the wild also do now adjust well to life in captivity. That is another reason why you must go in for Born in America Greek tortoises only.

Greek Tortoise’s Size and life span

Just hatched Greek tortoise is only one inch in size. With proper care and adequate nutrition, it can quickly grow to4 inches in a matter of 2 years. The average size of the Greek tortoise is anywhere between 5 and 8 inches. Huge Greek tortoises are also found, but they are comparatively rare. They will be huge at around 10 -11 feet!

The female of the species is larger than the males. The Greek tortoise is famed for living the longest. Often, it even outlives its keepers. In the wild, the total expectancy is more or less around 20 years. Food is scarce, extreme vagaries of climate, and then predators too.

In captivity, with care and adequate attention, the turtle can live to an unripe age of 100!!

Greek Tortoise Care Guide

1. Housing

Tortoises are best housed outdoors. Unless the climate is too cold for them to tolerate, keep them outside where you can set up a naturalistic pen for them. Give them a lot of space if you can afford it. Plant the pen area with edible grass and make sure it is where the maximum sun rays reach during the day.

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If you have to house them indoors during the winter months, then build a unit that is 3 feet length int 6 feet wide tortoise table that can accommodate one single tortoise. Use opaque material like wood and plastic so that the tortoises will set their boundaries and not try to escape.

Benefits of making larger pens for tortoises

  • They can mimic a more natural behavioral cycle
  • Reduces stress to them
  • It is strongly suggested that more than one male should not be housed together where there are females too. It can lead to constant fighting among the make to catch the attention of the female, leading to bullying and harassment.

2. Lighting

Both UV A and UV B lights are required. Mercury vapor lamp is strictly recommended. If the tortoises are outside making sure plenty of sunlight filters in. When it is indoors, use an incandescent bulb to maintain their day and night cycle.

Use a substrate that will retain moisture for a very long time. Mulch and aspen shredding ate great — no using aromatic wood at all.

3. Handling the Greek Tortoise

Greek tortoise loathes handling, and they must be held only when important. Clean their cages every week, and while lifting them, make sure to wash your hands with warm soapy water before and after it.

4. Food and water

They are herbivorous, and that is why you must give them as much grass as possible. Additionally, greens, vegetables, fruits, edible flowers are also a welcome change.

Change water every day and make sure that it is enough for the young tortoise to get in and soak. Misting of the cage occasionally is a great way to signal them to empty their bowels and to drink water.  

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