The Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni peloponnesica) is a small to medium-sized land chelonian reptile. It is related to the Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca).
The Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise has a slightly domed, rounded shell, called a carapace. The carapace is black and yellow with markings, but the colour fades with age, and becomes grey or straw-coloured. Its underbelly is creamy-beige. It has no teeth, but it has a strong, short beak. It has scaly brownish-grey, stumpy legs with five claws. Its back legs are thicker than its front legs. The tip of its tail has a spur (a horny, short spike).
It grows to about 28 centimetres (11 inches) long.
The Hermann’s Tortoise is found in southern Europe, particularly in eastern Spain, southern France, the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Italy, Serbia, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Turkey, and Greece.
There are two sub-species: the Western Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni hermanni) and the Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni boettgeri), which is larger then the western species. The photographed tortoise is an Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise found in the south-western Peloponnesus Coast in Greece.
It prefers to live near bushes and dense leafy areas.
It eats vegetation, such as leaves, flowers, and fruit. Its predators include rats, badgers, birds, foxes, wild boar, and other mammals.
The female is oviparous. She lays 2-12 eggs in a nest dug into the soil. The eggs hatch after 90-120 days. The young are temperature-dependent: at 26C degrees only males are born, and at 30C degrees only females are born.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM