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Testudo hermanni (Hermann's tortoise)


griekse1Origin: Greece and the Balkan countries
Length: up to 25 centimeters
Weight: 2 to 2.5 kilograms
Age: up to 80 years
The Hermann's tortoise has a high, arched shield that is colored orange, brown and yellow, with dark spots on the tail. The men can be recognized by a longer tail while the women can be recognized by a fuller belly shield. 

Care
Experience: Novice turtle holder
Food: Vegetables, herbs, special turtle food.
Adult feeding: daily
Feed young: Feed present at all times
Water basin: Yes
Change water: 3 times a week
Food
In the wild the Hermann's tortoises are true herbivores, this must therefore be simulated in captivity. A diet of fiber-rich vegetables such as endive, chicory and dandelion leaf supplement with special turtle feed and calcium supplements (special powder or eggshells) should suffice. Because the vegetables do not perfectly match their natural diet, a vitamin preparation must be added once a week.

Make sure that the food is offered on a special feed dish. Namely, when the turtles eat off the ground cover, sand and earth are added to the feed. This can lead to blockages. Make sure that the food bowl is firm, because they make the food smaller with their front legs. A light or non-sturdy food bowl will therefore be quickly pushed over. To help them with this behavior, the food can be offered in smaller pieces. But this is of course not necessary.

Water
Because the Hermann's tortoise does not occur in the wettest places, they do not need too much water. A small water bowl with a layer of water in it is enough. Don't give them a deep water bowl. They cannot swim well and can drown.

Cleaning
Like the herbivores they are, they also relieve as true herbivores. For this reason, it is advisable to remove the faeces from the accommodation on a daily basis and to remove the dirty soil cover once a week. In addition, it is wise to thoroughly clean the entire stay a few times a year, so you prevent the accumulation of germs and bacteria.

Handling
It may happen that you have to handle your turtle and that has to be done correctly so that no injury or stress can be involved. Handle the turtle by grabbing it from both sides on the center of the shield. You do this well if they are unable to scratch your hand with their legs. If this were the case, the turtle could deposit on your hand with all the consequences that that entails. In addition, make sure you always wash your hands before handling and make sure you handle the turtle with two hands.

Housing
Minimum size of stay for 1 couple: 200 * 100 * 40
Lying area: 1 m2 per turtle
Day temperature: 23-25C
Night temperature: 20-22C
Hours of light: 12 hours
Humidity level: 50 or lower%
Ground cover: grass or coconut fiber substrate
Enclosure
You wouldn't expect it from a turtle, but Hermann's tortoises can climb and dig well. They are happy to do this. Give them a thick bottom layer of approximately 5 cm so that they can partially bury themselves. Offer some structure in the accommodation so that climbing is possible. For this we of course do not mean climbing branches but a piece of wood, fake plates or a flat stone.

Just like us, Hermann's tortoises need UV light to produce vitamin D. Now there is the possibility to do this through sunlight if you keep the tortoise outside in the summer. But if you keep them inside, you will have to use a UV lamp.

As mentioned before, you can keep your turtle out in the warmer months (April-September). An easy guideline is: when the temperature is above 20c degrees at night, the turtles can stay outside. This country retreat has a few requirements that it must meet. It must have a shelter with a heat lamp in it. This ensures that they can still warm up on a colder day. The accommodation must also have shade and shelters. You can achieve this by placing some plants, but make sure that the plants are not toxic to the turtle. The turtle must not be able to escape from it, because of their climbing behavior, a fence of 50 cm is really needed. After all, it must be safe from dogs, cats and other predators.

Behaviour
Diet: Omnivorous with a tendency towards herbs and vegetables.
Lifestyle: Testrial & daily activity
Character: They are interesting and active animals that can be busy, but need a lot of space to be kept well.
Points of attention: Hermann's tortoises can hibernate, but it is not necessary. They do this with a temperature of around 9 to 10 degrees. It is therefore up to you, the owner, to choose whether or not to have the option.

Costs and Purchase
Legislation: The Hermann's tortoise falls under CITES II, to own this tortoise you need CITES or transfer papers. You should get this when purchasing.
One-off costs: This includes the costs for accommodation, lighting, heating, water bowl and decoration. This can together cost a few hundred euros to a few thousand euros. The final amount depends on the quality and size of the products.
Fixed costs: Fixed costs include the costs for the feed, this is several tens of euros per year.
Unexpected costs: Costs have been incurred if your turtle accidentally falls ill or your equipment breaks down.

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