Dwarf Marginated Tortoise (Testudo marginata weissingeri)

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Dwarf Marginated Tortoise
Testudo marginata weissingeri
Dwarf Marginated Tortoise (Testudo marginata weissingeri)
Name Dwarf Marginated Tortoise
Name Lat. Testudo marginata weissingeri
Family Tortoises
Family lat. Testudinidae
Order Turtles
Order lat. Testudines
Origin Greece
Habitat Shrubland
Diet Herbs, veggies, grass, hay
Humidity 40-60 %
Behavior ♂ semi-aggressive
Keeping Individual, harem
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Oviparous
Housing Dry terrarium
Life Span 50-70 years
Protection CITES Appendix II; EU Annex A
Metric Units
Size 20-25 cm
Temperature 25-30 °C
Temperature Local 35-45 °C
Housing Size 200 x 100 x 50 cm
US Units
Size 8"-10"
Temperature 77-86 °F
Temperature Local 95-113 °F
Housing Size 80" x 40" x 20"

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of the Dwarf Broad-edged Tortoise is in the Peloponnese. They live in rocky, dry scrubland (maquis), but they can also be found in olive groves, fields and gardens.


Minimum dimensions for the terrarium, according to the size and number of animals

1-2 animals 8PL x 4PL (L x W)

The carapace length (PL) is measured on the largest animal. For each additional animal the footprint has to be increased by10 %, from the 5th animal on by 20 %. A terrarium of e.g.200 x 100 x 50 cm is recommended, which should be placed in a quiet and vibration-free place.

You will need a spacious terrarium, structured with branches, robust plants and stones, with a burrowable 15-25 cm deep substrate, e.g. of sand-clay-gravel mixture, and a large, shallow, easy-to-clean water basin. A small portion of the substrate should always be kept slightly moist. In the case of group housing, separate roosting areas should be provided and suitable measures for visual separation should be implemented.

Temp. day: 25-30 °C Temp. night: 15-20 °C Temp. local: 35-45 °C Humidity: 40-60

Thermostatically controlled floor heating is recommended. Lighting duration must be 10-14 hrs, depending on the season. They need high light intensity and daily UV irradiation as well as sunny places with radiant heat.


They are omnivores, but they feed almost exclusively vegetarian. The diet consists of a wide range of wild herbs (plantain, dandelion, parsley, etc.), hay and hay dressings, clover, sweet grasses, mushrooms and vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage leaves, cucumbers, zucchini and carrots, supplemented with commercial ready-made food for tortoises. Occasionally they require small amounts of animal protein, such as earthworms, snails or grasshoppers, and small pieces of hard-boiled egg. Fruit should be fed sparingly and infrequently because of the fructose content. Regular addition of minerals and vitamins is important. They drink very much (drinking is done through the nose), accordingly, sufficient drinking water must always be available.

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

The larger males have a concave ventral carapace and a much longer tail than the females. The anal opening of the male is closer to the tip of the tail than in the female

For successful breeding, animals must hibernate for 3-5 months to mature sperm. Mating occurs immediately after hibernation. Eggs (3-11 pieces) are laid between August and October, at a depth of about 15 cm, in a sandy, southeast-facing spot. The incubation period is 60-90 days at 25-30 °C. Juveniles require higher humidity (60-80%). Life expectancy can be 50-70 years.

Species protection

The animal population must be reported in writing to the competent authority immediately after the start of keeping. Subsequently, all arrivals and departures must be reported

Species protection: WA Appendix II; EU Appendix A. You will receive a certificate with a picture of the animal for clear identification and a proof of purchase as proof of origin upon purchase

Your pet store will be happy to provide you with further information.


In summer they can be kept well in an outdoor facility, protected from damp cold (shelter house) (during the day min. 15 °C, at night min. 10 °C). Hibernation lasts 3-5 months at 4-8 °C, depending on the origin of the animals. Year-round outdoor keeping is only possible under certain conditions. The terrarium must have good ventilation without drafts and meet the species-specific needs. Measuring devices such as thermometers, hygrometers, etc. are necessary. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and has to be placed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Contamination must be removed regularly

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Christian Sänger; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1997): Tierschutzgutachten - Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Reptilien; ENGELMANN (2006): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Reptilien und Amphibien, Harri Deutsch Verlag; ROGNER (2009): Taschenatlas Schildkröten, Verlag Ulmer

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF