The Ultimate Guide for Hermann’s Tortoise 2023 (NEW)

Posted on the 24 April 2023 by Martins97

Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni) are small in size, typically growing to be about 8-10 inches long. They have a round, domed shell that is typically brown or yellow in color. One of the most distinguishing features of the Hermann tortoise is the pattern on its shell, which is made up of dark, concentric circles. These tortoises are also known for their bright, expressive eyes and their short, stubby legs.

There are several different subspecies of Hermann tortoises, each with their own unique characteristics. The Western Hermann tortoise, for example, has a larger and more rounded shell than other subspecies, while the Eastern subspecies has a more elongated shell.

The Southern Hermann tortoise is known for its bright yellow markings on its head and legs, while the Northern Hermann tortoise has a darker shell and is found in cooler, more mountainous regions.

It is important for potential owners to research and understand the specific needs of the subspecies they are interested in before bringing them home as pets, as they require specific diets, temperatures, and habitats to thrive in captivity.

Additionally, it is important to only purchase tortoises from reputable breeders or adopt from rescue organizations to avoid contributing to the illegal pet trade.

Overall, Hermann tortoises are a charming and fascinating species that make great pets for both novice and experienced reptile owners.

Hermann's Tortoise Lifespan

On average, Hermann tortoises can live for 50 to 100 years in captivity, with some even living up to 150 years in the wild. It is important to keep in mind that owning a Hermann tortoise is a long-term commitment, and potential owners should be prepared to provide care for their pet for many years to come.

Hermann's Tortoise Habitat

Hermann tortoises are native to southern Europe, specifically the Mediterranean region. They can be found in countries such as Spain, Italy, and Greece, where they live in dry, rocky areas and feed on a variety of vegetation.

Their natural habitat also includes scrublands, grasslands, and open woodlands.

These tortoises are well adapted to their environment and have developed several unique behaviors to survive in the wild.

For example, they are known to burrow into the ground to escape extreme temperatures and protect themselves from predators.

Hermann tortoises are also excellent climbers and can often be found perched on rocks or low branches.

Despite their small size, these tortoises are resilient and can live up to 50 years in the wild.

It is important to replicate this natural habitat as closely as possible when caring for a pet Hermann tortoise, in order to ensure their health and well-being.

How to Care for a Hermann's Tortoise

There are a few important things to remember when taking care of a Hermann's tortoise.

First and foremost, it's important to give them a good place to live. This means making an enclosure that looks as much like their natural habitat as possible, giving them a healthy diet, and making sure they always have fresh water.

For your Hermann's tortoise's health, it's also important to take it to the vet regularly and handle it in the right way. With the right care, these interesting creatures can be great pets that live for a long time.


Hermann's tortoises are native to the Mediterranean region, so their natural habitat is typically dry and rocky with plenty of vegetation. In order to replicate this environment as closely as possible within an enclosure, it's important to provide a substrate that is similar to the soil in their natural habitat. You can accomplish this by using a mixture of sand and soil with some rocks and pebbles scattered about.

Additionally, it's important to provide plenty of hiding places and basking spots, as well as a shallow water dish for soaking. Adding live plants to the enclosure can also help to create a more natural and stimulating environment for your pet reptile, while also improving air quality and providing opportunities for climbing and exploration. It's important to research the specific needs of your reptile species to ensure that their enclosure is properly set up for their health and well-being.

Outdoor Enclosure

If you plan on keeping your Hermann's tortoise in an outdoor enclosure, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind.

Firstly, the enclosure should be secure to prevent any escapes or predators from getting in. It should also be large enough to allow your tortoise to move around freely and engage in natural behaviors like digging and foraging.

Providing a sheltered area where your tortoise can retreat from the sun and weather is also important. Finally, make sure to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure, as these can fluctuate more in an outdoor setting. With proper planning and maintenance, an outdoor enclosure can provide your Hermann's tortoise with a more natural and enriching environment to thrive in.

However, it is important to keep in mind that outdoor enclosures may not be suitable for all reptile species, and some may require a more controlled indoor environment. Always do your research and consult with a veterinarian or experienced reptile keeper before setting up any enclosure for your pet.


Hermann's tortoises require a basking temperature of around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with a cooler area of the enclosure around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

It's important to provide a temperature gradient within the enclosure so that the tortoise can regulate its body temperature by moving to different areas of the enclosure.

A basking lamp and a heat lamp can be used to provide the necessary heat, while a thermometer can be used to monitor the temperature and ensure that it stays within the appropriate range.


Humidity levels are also important to consider when setting up an enclosure for a reptile. Hermann's tortoises require a humidity level of around 50-60%, which can be achieved by misting the enclosure with water and providing a humid hide.

You can create a humid hide by putting a damp substrate like sphagnum moss or coconut coir in a hide box.

It's important to monitor the humidity levels with a hygrometer and adjust as necessary to ensure that your pet reptile stays healthy and comfortable.

Proper temperature and humidity levels are crucial to the health and well-being of reptiles, as they are cold-blooded animals that rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature and hydration. It is recommended that you research the specific needs of your pet reptile species to ensure that you are providing the appropriate conditions for them to thrive.


It's also important to provide UVB lighting for Hermann's tortoises, which helps them synthesize vitamin D3 and maintain healthy bones. This can be achieved through the use of a UVB lamp, which should be replaced every 6-12 months to ensure that it is still providing adequate levels of UVB radiation.

Hermann's Tortoise Diet

In the wild, Hermann tortoises primarily eat plants such as grasses, weeds, flowers, and leaves.

In captivity, their diet should consist of a variety of vegetables and fruits, including leafy greens, carrots, squash, and apples.

It's important to avoid feeding them foods high in protein or fat, as well as foods that are toxic to them, such as avocado and rhubarb.

Due to a lack of natural sunlight, they also require calcium and vitamin supplements, which can be sprinkled on your tortoise's food, to maintain strong bones and a healthy shell. It is important to provide them with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs as well as access to fresh water at all times.

The Tortoise Table is a comprehensive resource that provides information on safe and unsafe foods for Hermann's tortoises, as well as tips on feeding frequency and portion sizes. It is a valuable tool for ensuring the health and well-being of your pet tortoise.

Male and female Hermann's Tortoises: What Are the Differences?

Male adult Hermann tortoises are generally larger than females, with longer tails and thicker legs. They also tend to have more concave plastrons, which helps them mount females during mating.

In terms of behavior, males may exhibit more aggressive tendencies, especially during breeding season, while females are typically more docile.

It is important to understand these differences when selecting a tortoise as a pet as well as when housing multiple tortoises together. Proper socialization and environmental enrichment can help mitigate any potential conflicts between male and female Hermann tortoises.

Additionally, it is important to note that male tortoises may require more space than females due to their larger size and more active nature. Providing ample space and hiding spots can help reduce stress and promote a harmonious living environment for all tortoises.

It is also recommended to monitor the tortoises closely during breeding season to prevent any injuries or aggression. By understanding the differences between male and female Hermann tortoises and providing appropriate care and attention, you can ensure the health and happiness of your pet for years to come.

Breeding Hermann's Tortoises

Breeding Hermann tortoises can be a complex process, and it is not recommended for inexperienced owners. It is important to ensure that the male and female are healthy and mature enough for breeding and that they have appropriate nesting areas and diets. Breeding should only occur during the appropriate season, and the female should be monitored closely for signs of stress or complications during egg-laying.

It is also important to have a plan for any potential offspring, as they may require separate housing and care. Overall, breeding Hermann tortoises should only be attempted by knowledgeable and experienced owners who can provide adequate care and attention to both the parents and any potential babies and who have a clear understanding of the responsibilities involved in breeding these animals.

If you do decide to breed Hermann tortoises, it is important to have a plan in place for any potential offspring. Baby Hermann's tortoises require specific care and attention, including a warm and humid environment, a varied and nutritious diet, and regular veterinary check-ups.

It is also important to provide appropriate socialization and handling to ensure that the babies are comfortable around humans and other animals.

Additionally, it is important to have a plan for rehoming any baby tortoise that you are unable to care for, as Hermann tortoises can live for up to 100 years.

As with any pet, Hermann tortoises are susceptible to various diseases and illnesses. It is important to regularly monitor your tortoise's health and behavior and to seek veterinary care if any concerning symptoms arise. Some common health issues in Hermann tortoises include respiratory infections, shell rot, and parasitic infections.

Providing a clean and appropriate environment, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary checkups can help prevent these issues. It is also important to quarantine any new tortoises before introducing them to an established group to prevent the spread of disease. By taking preventative measures and promptly addressing any health concerns, tortoise owners can ensure the well-being of their pets and maintain a healthy environment for all.

Conservation of Hermann's Tortoises

Conservation of Hermann's tortoises is also an important consideration for owners. These tortoises are listed as vulnerable species and are protected by international laws. It is important to ensure that any Hermann's tortoises you own are legally obtained and not taken from the wild.

Additionally, owners should consider supporting conservation efforts through donations or volunteering with organizations that work to protect these animals and their habitats. By taking these steps, owners can help ensure the survival of Hermann's tortoises for generations to come.

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