Everything You Need to Know About Greek Tortoise + Fun Facts

Greek tortoise is one of the “Land Turtles,” which belongs to the reptile’s family. They are cute small species commonly known as spur-thighed tortoise. That’s because they have two to three spurs on their thighs.

Greek Tortoise, also known as Greek Mosaic. These tortoises are named after their shape and pattern of dots with highlighted borders found on their shell. They are of yellow-golden, black, and brown color, mostly found in North Africa, southwest Asia, and southern Europe.

Their average size is up to 11 inches, domed carapace, a flat head with bulging eyes, big scales and spurs on its legs, and strong claws and like to live on land.

Greek Tortoise

Greek tortoise “Breed and Species”

Greek tortoises are one of the five species of tortoise from the Mediterranean. Following are different types of tortoise that belong to the Greek tortoise family.

  • Ibera Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca ibera)
  • Libyan Greek tortoise (T. g. Cyrenaica)
  • North African Greek tortoise (T. g. graeca)
  • Golden Greek tortoise (T. graeca ssp.)
  • Tunisian Greek tortoise (T. g. nabulensis)

Greek tortoise Characteristics


Greek tortoises are medium-sized, with a flat head, spurs on their front legs, and strong legs. Apparently, they are very attractive and eye-catching; their carapace has a beautiful color combination of brownish-yellow with black and dark brown borders make them stunning.

It has rectangular-shaped and steep curve carapace with beautiful color, symmetrical marks on head and body cover with scales mostly on their legs, with a pointed and sharp claw for digging in soil which they like most.

Fun Fact: These tortoises have Greek styled Mosaic on their carapace; that’s why they are known as Greek tortoises.

They are commonly called Spur-thighed tortoises because they have many spurs on their thigh; most of them are on front legs. They are even born with spurs on them; this special feature makes them different from other species.


Greek Tortoise is not large, can grow up to 11 inches. Their full-grown size is between 8 inches to 11inches. Their size remains between 5 inches to 11 inches, and their weight goes up to approximately 6 kg.

Fun Fact: Their females are larger than their males in size, and males have a long tail compared to females.


Greek tortoise habitat at dry and barren places, they like it live in brushes near the sea. They can survive with the basic need in a suitable environment because of this human-like to pet them at their houses. They can live in a suitable environment. Furthermore, their care is not so tricky; they can easily survive in human places with basic needs and suitable surroundings. They don’t need too much care.

These species are environment-friendly tortoises who need little water to sock themselves for the time being, and for drinking, natural sunlight is the best option for them. They only need to be hydrated, especially in summer.

These tortoise live around brushes, barren areas, plateaus, and coastal sides, where the temperature rises to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  

They are best in natural surroundings but can also survive indoors. Indoors setting, proper sunlight, heat, food, and water should be arranged for their growth.

Greek Tortoise

Life Span

Greek tortoises are mostly found in an arid climate; they like to live in dry and barren areas. Greek tortoise pets can live up to 125 years, but in the wild life they don’t survive up to 20 years because of predation, unsuitable climate, illegal pet trade, and other reasons.

Fun Fact: They have a longer life span than other tortoises; they can be a generation to generation pet.

In human care, they can survive more as compare to live in wild life. Their species is in danger and declining day by day for various reasons, and now they are Vulnerable.


This tortoise specie mostly lives in hot and dry places, so there they need to go in hibernation. In colder climates, this tortoise-like to go underground and spend their colder days in hibernation. Greek tortoise-like to dig deep underground

Reason for Death

Greek Tortoise size is small because of its size, and it is difficult for them to survive in wildlife; they are easy to become prey. So, it is one of the big reasons for their death.

Another reason is illegal pet tracking. People caught them for sale because they can be kept as a pet at the house because of their affordable personality. Lack of care by the human their species is at risk and dyeing with high rate.

Greek Tortoise as Pet

These can easily survive in both indoors and outdoors; this species doesn’t need much care to live, which makes them a good pet choice. But carelessness can lead them towards their death.

This species is friendly, easy-going, and affordable, but still, they need care and must not be mistreated as a reptile.  They need a proper setup, not an exaggerated one,

Greek Tortoise care and requirements are not that difficult, but it consumes time; once this species recognizes their owner, they come to them for food and water. 

Enclosure Size

Greek tortoises are medium in size, so they don’t need larger space to survive. These golden Greek tortoises need 18 inches sized terrariums, at least six feet long by three feet tall.

Terrariums should be made of small wooden walls with a base of soft substrates, and visible must be less so the escaping attempts of these black tortoise will be less. You can decorate their enclosure with small plants, making them feel homely. It can also act as a shady area for them.

You can add some substrates, a good mixture of organic soil, play sand in their enclosure with some plants and put some pebbles in their terrarium. They have a habit of digging deep, so a thick layer of soil around 2 inches will be good.

Greek tortoise setup must be like that they could easily walk around their enclosure, that’s why their size must be around 18 inches, even full gown Greek tortoise can easily liv in this size of the enclosure.


This Greek golden tortoise belongs to a dry and barren place where the temperature is dry and hot. These are areas where thethe sunlight is direct because this climate is hot at these places, which indicates that these species need heat for their survival.

This Greek tortoise pet must be kept up to 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night, and in day time temperature must be between 65-to-90-degree Fahrenheit. 


Mostly these Ibera Greek tortoises are found around coastal areas where the humidity level is more than normal, which means they needed to be hydrated; dehydration can lead them to death.

In the Greek tortoise enclosure, full-grown Greek tortoise must have 40 to 60 percent of humidity level for their survival, and for hatching eggs, they need more humidity level between 65 to 75 percent.


Sunlight is best for these black Greek tortoises for their healthy growth. Light is one of their basic need; UVB-emitting lighting can be a solution instead of sunlight. Around 12 hours per day is emitting light will healthy for them, promoting vitamin D and helping in metalizing calcium and making their bones stronger.


Greek Tortoises are herbivorous, and they like to eat plants. Greek tortoise food is plants and the best one which contains high fiber and low protein. They like to eat fresh greeny leaves like collard greens, fresh parsley, dandelion greens, zucchini, broccoli, shredded carrots, etc.

As a pet, you can feed them finely sliced strawberries, apples, and raspberries but don’t give more than 10 percent of their diet.

Place enough water that they can walk into it and can drink easily. Change water daily, and they can’t survive in dirty or muddy water, so clean water is one of their basic need which they must need to survive.

Greek tortoise Common Diseases

This breed doesn’t get ill mostly but can suffer from some common reptile’s diseases, such as

  • Respiratory Disease
  • Fungus on their shell (Shell Rot)
  • Metabolic Bone Disease
  • Parasites

These diseases must be cured on time; otherwise, they could be life-threatening. They don’t have many requirements, but still, they need care and time. If you mistreat them, it can make them stressed and make them ill.

Greek Tortoise “Sale”

Here some questions arise that how much is a Greek tortoise? Where can you find a Greek tortoise for sale? You can find this golden Greek tortoise for sale in the market. Greek tortoise sales mostly in spring and late summer seasons; this breed’s eggs hatch in these seasons. They don’t grow larger, which makes them approachable pet tortoise.

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