hermanns tortoise care sheet

Hermanns Tortoise Care Sheet

Hermann’s tortoise a.k.a Testudo hermanni sp. (Eastern Hermanns Tortoise & Western Hermanns Tortoise)

hermanns tortoise care

Intro to the Hermanns Tortoise

The Hermann’s tortoise is one of the greatest pet tortoises around. They’ve got it all: good size, great personality, and they’re tough as nails too! These tortoises naturally occur in Southern Europe, ranging across temperate grasslands from Italy to Turkey. These tiny tortoises average at 6 to 8 inches full grown (males staying smaller), and due to their natural range, can tolerate a variety of environments, making them very hardy in captivity. They’re also very active and curious once established in their environment which makes them a fun animal to interact with. Like all tortoises and turtles, Hermann’s tortoises are long lived. You’re looking at a tiny shelled friend for about 60-70 years!

caring for hermanns tortoises

Hermanns Tortoise Care

Tortoises are herbivores, so a variety of greens is important to sustain proper nutrition. Dark leafy greens, hay, and herbivore pellets are good sources of food to keep these tortoises happy and healthy. Food can be offered every day. It’s also good to soak them in shallow water at least twice a week for about 15 minutes to ensure adequate hydration. Being a grassland species, humidity does not need to be consistently high, but it is recommended to mist the enclosure in the mornings. Ambient humidity can remain in the 60-50 range. Housing is also very practical with this small species. All tortoises require heat and UVB lighting. Basking temperatures should reach the mid to low 90 degrees F, with an ambient of about 80 degrees F. 5.0 UVB should be provided across the enclosure. As adults, UVB can be amped to 10.0. All lights should be kept on a day/night cycle. A 20 gallon tank or tortoise pen is enough for one to 3 babies, and adult sized enclosures can measure at least 4 feet long and 2 feet deep.  Hides should be offered at each end of the enclosure, with a shallow water dish at the opposite end of the basking area to provide a proper heat gradient. The food bowl can be placed closer to the basking area as well. A thick layer of mulch substrate is preferred to allow the tortoises to nestle into the ground to rest and hide. It’s also okay to add small obstacles in the enclosure to allow the tortoises to walk through and learn how to traverse their terrain. Due to the variety of climates in their natural range, Hermann’s tortoises do great living outdoors, as long as proper enclosure and safety requirements are met. 

how to care for hermanns tortoises

Hermann's Tortoises For Sale in the Pet Trade

Hermann’s tortoises can sometimes be tough to find, but are not necessarily rare. They do not lay large clutches, and at most lay two clutches per season. Adults can also be seen for sale, most of which being wild caught animals. Hermann’s tortoises are near threatened in the wild due to land development and illegal poaching, but luckily captive hermann’s are much more popular than wild caught specimens. These tortoises are mid-ranged in terms of price, due to the work of breeding and minor scarcity. In terms of long term expenses, they are much more affordable and practical due to their size compared to the lower priced sulcata tortoise, which may seem cheap and cute up front, but can grow upwards of 70 pounds and wreak havoc on property if not kept properly. With that said, Hermann’s tortoises are a great alternative and make exceptional pets for those looking for a practical tortoise that is both easy to care for and interactive.



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