Hermann’s Tortoise

The Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is a small to medium-sized reptile in the Testudinoidea family of land chelonians. It is related to the Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca). 

The Hermann’s Tortoise has a slightly domed, rounded shell, called a carapace. The carapace is black and pale-yellow with markings, but the colour fades with age, and becomes grey or straw-coloured. Its underbelly shell, called a plastron, 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). 

Hermann’s Tortoise

It grows to about 28 centimetres (11 inches) long. 

The Hermann’s Tortoise is found in southern Europe, particularly in Spain, France, the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and Italy. 

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. 

Hermann’s Tortoise
Hermann’s Tortoise

Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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