The Mediterranean Tortoise Guide

The Mediterranean tortoise is another name for the Horsefield tortoise. Be sure to enter your email above to receive your email course on how to take care of your tortoise. Other common names for this pet include:

  • Testudo tortoise graeca species
  • Central Asian Tortoise
  • Afghanistan Tortoise
  • Steppe Tortoise
  • Four Clawed Tortoise

The ownership of Mediterranean tortoises is very common throughout the western world. While plenty of people think that caring for tortoises is easy compared to caring for animals like dogs and cats, tortoises have many unique biological requirements. They need to have dedicated owners that are truly prepared to provide for them. Caring for Mediterranean tortoises can be both educational and rewarding, but pet owners will have to do their research first. Pet owners shouldMediterranean Tortoise know in advance that there is a great deal of misinformation out there on the subject of this tortoise, so they should learn to recognize the many different myths about them.

Mediterranean tortoises have significantly longer lifespans than many pets. Many people that buy them in the first place do so partly to enjoy the possibility of being able to keep a pet for so long. People that buy this pet as adults may be able to keep their tortoises for the rest of their lives, as long as they care for them correctly. Conscientious pet owners can enjoy long lives with their tortoises.


For sale

Mediterranean tortoises are available all throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere. There are plenty of private breeders that focus on reptiles that specialize in raising these tortoises. Today, prospective pet owners can also get them from online dealers, which may make it easier for people in many different locations to be able to get tortoises of their own. Reptile expos can also be good places to find these tortoises.

While there are plenty of ethical and respectable pet stores out there, pet owners should always research the reputation of a pet store before purchasing this pet or any other pet. It is not uncommon for vendors to try to sell ailing animals to pet owners, who the owners will then have to provide with immediate and costly veterinary care. Pet owners that do their research in advance will be that much more likely to end up with healthy, well-adjusted pet. People that try to buy tortoises from ads may have a more difficult time doing the necessary background research.



While many people that raise tortoises are reluctant to give them low-protein diets, they should remember that tortoises in the wild would primarily eat flowers and leaves. Mediterranean tortoises also need diets that are very high in fiber. They have sensitive digestive tracts and need large amounts of fiber in order to function properly. They also need to each large amounts of calcium, particularly for the sake of shell development. Pet owners that follow these dietary guidelines will raise healthy tortoises. Pet owners that step outside these dietary guidelines will almost certainly cause their tortoises health problems down the line, either as a result of depriving them of certain nutrients or giving them the wrong foods.



Pet owners that are used to tropical tortoise species for whatever reason may have the urge to give their pet fruit. While all tortoises will have some similarities almost by definition, pet owners should remember that Mediterranean tortoises and tropical tortoises live in vastly different habitats and have very different dietary requirements. They don’t need fruit, and giving them fruit can give them various digestive ailments. Processed food, dairy food, and grain products are completely unacceptable food items for your pet. Lettuce is a popular treat for tortoises, but pet owners should remember that iceberg lettuce is almost completely devoid of nutrients.

Vetches, grass, dandelions, clover, and other green vegetables are great choices for them. These types of plants are high in nutrients and fiber. Pet owners that give their tortoises a wide variety of plants to eat will be giving them the best chances of eating a healthy, nutritious diet. This pet can get some of their necessary dietary calcium through cuttlefish bone dietary supplements, or special artificial calcium supplements. Pet owners should make sure that their tortoises are not ingesting pesticides or other harmful chemicals in the process of feeding.

Drowning can be a problem, so pet owners should make sure that the water dishes that they give their tortoises are small and shallow. The idea that they do not drink is surprisingly common, even among supposedly professional sources. If the tortoises demonstrate erratic drinking behavior, it may be a sign of an underlying condition. However, pet owners should ignore the rumor that they don’t drink or barely drink.



One of the challenges of keeping tortoises is that tortoises cannot thrive in fish tanks, unlike many other pets. Tortoises in general require spacious living areas for the sake of their mental and physical health. While many animals can easily exist in a wide range of environments, tortoises require very specific environmental conditions in order to thrive. They need areas that are big enough to let them exercise and burn off energy. Tortoises in the wild would have a decent amount of space, which they should also have in captivity. They also need excellent ventilation, which is one of many reasons that fish tanks and similar structures just don’t work for this type of tortoise. Pet owners that keep multiple Mediterranean tortoises should make sure that they adjust their living spaces accordingly, rather than try to fit multiple ones in a space that is ideal for one.

Large outdoor enclosures with attached special houses are very popular for them. However, it is important to secure this enclosure against predators, especially for owners that live in areas that have foxes or coyotes. Tortoises are surprisingly good at escaping from even high-quality enclosures. Using surface walls that are double the tortoise’s length should suffice. The surface walls should also have a concrete base and be positioned thirty centimeters into the ground. Pet owners should make sure that there aren’t any poisonous plants in the outdoor areas that they have set aside for their tortoises, which their tortoises may not instinctively avoid.



Hibernation is one of the trickier parts of raising a Mediterranean tortoise. For one thing, they shouldn’t be put into hibernation unless it is healthy enough. While many people think of hibernation as a long, healing sleep, it can make sick tortoises worse. Pet owners that always check their tortoises for indications of infections or wounds as they prepare to put them into hibernation, since these could suggest that there’s an underlying problem that pet owners should address. Over-wintering is a better option for an ailing tortoise. Pet owners that are uncertain about what to do should consult with their veterinarians.

They will typically start getting ready to hibernate at some point in August and September. It is normal for tortoises to start eating less and less during this period. They tend to ease into the process gradually, and pet owners can help their tortoises make the adjustment in a healthy way. One of the challenges of keeping this tortoise is maintaining all of the environmental conditions necessary for a successful hibernation period, including temperature levels.

Temperature is everything when it comes to a safe, successful, and healthy hibernation period for a Mediterranean tortoise. They prefer temperatures that range from 3 to 7 degrees Celsius, or 37.4 to 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit, when it comes to their hibernation periods. This pet won’t be able to maintain a state of hibernation in temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius or higher, which corresponds to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, pet owners should be sure to keep their hibernating tortoises away from temperatures that are around 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit or 1 degree Celsius, which might give them permanent health consequences or kill them altogether. Even seemingly minor shifts in temperature can make all the difference for a hibernating Mediterranean tortoise. As January draws to a close, pet owners should start keeping a closer eye on their tortoises, who may be starting to exit their hibernation periods.


Care sheet

There are plenty of good care sheets available for Mediterranean tortoises that can give concerned pet owners specific directions. Care sheets can give owners specific information on the ideal temperatures for tortoises, as well as their dietary needs and ideal housing conditions. Plenty of veterinarians will have care sheets on hand for pet owners. Societies and organizations aimed at educating people on caring for tortoises will also have care sheets available. Pet owners that see information on a given care sheet that contradicts what they know about tortoises should be suspicious, however, given the rumors floating around about this tortoises and the ways in which different varieties of tortoises differ from one another.



Pet owners and potential pet owners that are interested in caring for Mediterranean tortoises will have plenty of sources to consult. Ultimately, many of them would benefit from speaking to a veterinarian that has worked with these tortoises before. However, the Internet has still made it easier for pet owners to find a lot of the information that they need in order to responsibly care for this tortoise. They should know that even published books on this tortoise still perpetuate certain myths about them, so it’s always important to do fact-checking. That is one of the main reasons I have created the email mini course, be sure to sign in below.



Mediterranean tortoises are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature, since they don’t produce their own body heat like mammals. Like many reptiles, this tortoise like to bask in areas with warmer temperatures in order to help them with thermal regulation. Their basking areas should be around 40 degrees Celsius, which is 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A good standard temperature is 20 degrees Celsius, which is 68 degrees Fahrenheit and close to the ideal temperature for humans as well. In many climates, being able to maintain the ideal temperature for tortoises may not be overly challenging, but pet owners will end up regulating the temperature of their tortoises’ environments through artificial means.



They require substrates for proper functioning. The substrate itself needs to be sufficiently drained, or it won’t be as effective for the tortoise. Half of the composition of the substrate can be sand, and half of the composition can be top soil. The two components can be mixed together so both parts are distributed finely throughout the mixture. The need that tortoises have for substrates truly demonstrates their unique biology.