Eastern Hermann's Tortoise (Testudo hermanni boettgeri)

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Eastern Hermann's Tortoise
Testudo hermanni boettgeri
Eastern Hermann's Tortoise (Testudo hermanni boettgeri)
Name Eastern Hermann's Tortoise
Name Lat. Testudo hermanni boettgeri
Family Tortoises
Family lat. Testudinidae
Order Turtles
Order lat. Testudines
Origin SE-Europe
Habitat Forests, 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 40-50 years
Protection CITES Appendix II; EU Annex A
Metric Units
Size 20-25 cm
Temperature 25-30 °C
Temperature Local 35-40 °C
Housing Size 200 x 100 x 50 cm
US Units
Size 8"-10"
Temperature 77-86 °F
Temperature Local 95-104 °F
Housing Size 80" x 40" x 20"

Distribution and habitat

The Greek tortoises, Testudo hermanni boettgeri, are common in western Turkey, Greece, the Balkan Peninsula, southern Italy and Sicily. They inhabit the mostly dry evergreen oak forests and hilly scrubland (maquis), but also 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: 18-22 °C Temp. local: 35-40 °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 anal opening of the male is closer to the tip of the tail than in the female.

For successful breeding, the animals must hibernate for 3-5 months to mature sperm. Mating occurs immediately before and after hibernation. Eggs (2-12 pieces) are laid between June and August, at a maximum depth of 20 cm, on a sandy, southeast-facing site. The incubation period is 60-90 days at 25-30 °C. Juveniles require higher humidity (60-80%). Life expectancy can be 40-50 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.


Testudo hermanni boettgeri has black spots on the abdominal carapace along the middle seam (not continuous) and the middle seam from the breast shield is always larger than the one on the leg shield. In summer they can be kept well in an outdoor enclosure, protected from damp cold (shelter house) (min. 15 °C during the day, min. 10 °C at night). Hibernation lasts 3-5 months at 4-8 °C, depending on the origin of the animals. A 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

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF