We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Hermann's Tortoise?

By Angie Bates
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hermann's tortoise is a type of small tortoise very popular in the pet trade. Native to Europe, the Hermann's tortoise is still found in the wild around its original range, but captive tortoises have been exported as pets throughout Europe and overseas. These tortoises are active, easy to breed, and hardy. The scientific name for Hermann's tortoise is Testudo hermanni.

When young, the Hermann's tortoise has a brightly colored shell, called a carapace, of yellow and black that fades as the tortoise ages. Small reptiles, adult tortoises are only 5–10 inches long (12.7–25.4 cm). Females are usually larger than males but have shorter tails.

There are two subspecies of Hermann's tortoise: the western, Testudo hermanni hermanni, and the eastern, Testudo hermanni boettgeri. The western ranges from northern Spain and Italy into southern France, whereas the eastern lives in Greece, Yugoslavia, and Albania, as well as the Balkans and southern Italy. The two subspecies can be differentiated by yellow spots on the western's head and a more diffused pattern to the eastern's shell.

In the wild, Hermann's tortoises live in oak forests or rocky hills in arid climates. They are mostly vegetarian, eating flowers, leaves, grass, and plant stalks. They also may supplement their diets with invertebrates like slugs and snails. In captivity, traditional vegetables can be fed to these reptiles with success.

Hermann's tortoises are very active, spending a lot of time exploring. The males frequently fight with each other, particularly during breeding season, and may be aggressive toward females as well. Though not always necessary, it is sometimes safer for owners to house male and female tortoises separately, unless they are actively breeding.

Breeding occurs in spring through summer. Females dig 3–4 inch (7.6–10 cm) deep nests in dirt in which they lay between two and 12 eggs. Eggs may be incubated for 90–120 days before hatching.

Although these tortoises are small, they require large enclosures and do best outside. Enclosures should have plenty of naturally growing food available, as well as rocks and bushes for hiding. A southern exposure for basking is also necessary.

As hardy, easy to breed reptiles, Hermann's tortoises are highly desirable in the pet trade and were once collected from the wild by the thousands. This over-collection threatened their wild existence. Thankfully, the wild populations have rebounded and most of the tortoises sold as pets are now captive-bred. The wild populations are still not safe, however. Although their populations are relatively stable in the early 21st century, habitat destruction is threatening their survival.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.