Hermann's tortoise: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. We are dealing with a truly ancient species. In general, the...

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We are facing a truly ancient species. In general, turtles are a species whose origin is really distant, because it is believed that their presence on earth dates back to before the arrival of man.

The Hermann's tortoise is thought to have been introduced to the Italian peninsula by man during the Neolithic period. They mainly used it as food, although later it began to be appreciated as a pet. It was also useful as a source of resources, as its shells were widely used to make all sorts of ornaments and instruments.In this PlanetAnimal dossier, we present the characteristics, conservation status and diet of the Hermann's tortoise.


  • Europe
  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Croatia
  • Spain
  • Gibr altar
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Macedonia
  • Portugal
  • Romania

Characteristics of Hermann's Tortoise

Hermann's tortoise is characterized by its size: it is one of the smallest land tortoises. An adult specimen usually weighs around 700 grams, although in the case of females the weight is much higher and can reach 2 kilograms. In addition, there is a marked sexual dimorphism in these turtles.In addition to being smaller in size, males have a longer and broader tail at their base, displaying a developed corneal sheath.

Curiously enough, the color and size basically depend on the region where the turtle lives, and there is great variability in this regard. Mostly, the Hermann's tortoise has a brown carapace color, which can be more or less intense or olive green, overlapping spots on the surface ranging from yellow to light brown.

The vast majority of people know that turtles are long-lived animals. In the case of Hermann's tortoise, it is not difficult to find specimens that are well over a hundred years old.

Hermann's Tortoise Habitat

Hermann's tortoises are scattered all over the Mediterranean coast. Coming from Spain, to countries all over Europe such as France, Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria or Romania, among others.

In general, Hermann's tortoises are found in all regions with a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers. This is where scrub forests and low vegetation grow, where they take refuge and where they feed.

Reproduction of Hermann's tortoise

Turtles are oviparous animals, this means that they reproduce by laying eggs. This laying is done in holes that the female digs in the ground. A Hermann's tortoise is not sexually mature until the age of 9 years, after which the female makes 2-3 broods per year.

These clutches normally take place in the spring, with the number of eggs per clutch varying significantly. These eggs are hatched by the female between 2 and 3 months. Something really curious is that the sex of turtles is not determined by genes, but by environmental conditions. When temperatures are above 31.5 degrees, female rates are higher, while if lower, males predominate.

When the young hatch, they break open the egg using a horny tubercle, similar to a beak, which they lose as they grow. They take between 40 and 48 hours to hatch because during this time they absorb nutrients from the yolk sac.

Hermann's tortoise diet

Hermann's tortoises have the particularity of hibernating. That is to say, during the cold months, they burrow and remain underground until the weather becomes more clement, because only then will they be able to feed properly.

This diet is based on the consumption of foods of plant origin. That is to say, they are herbivorous reptiles, although they may consume insects or carrion very occasionally. Their diet usually consists of the consumption of seeds, herbs, vegetables, and flowers, but never fruits, as their sugars would significantly damage their gastric system.

If we have one of these turtles as a pet, we must provide them with a diet rich in greens, leaves and vegetables. But as we said, no fruit. In addition, we must ensure many hours of sunlight each day because, like other reptiles, they need light and heat to function properly.

Conservation status of Hermann's tortoise

Although until recently this species was one of the most stable, since only a few of its populations were endangered, in recent years these populations have decreased considerably. This is mainly due to human action.

Most of the problems that the Hermann's Tortoise as a species faces are caused by humans. Some of the most important are the destruction of their habitats or the lack of food due to deforestation and the destruction of the environment.

For these reasons, the species is currently threatened. This is why we need to be aware of how humans act and how it affects so many species, including the Hermann's Tortoise.

Photos of Hermann's Tortoise

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