The Greek tortoise also known commonly as the spur-thighed tortoise, is a species of tortoise in the family Testudinidae. Greek tortoise is one of five species of Mediterranean tortoises. The Greek tortoise is a very long-lived animal, achieving a lifespan upwards of 125 years, with some unverified reports up to 200 years.
Native to Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and Southwest Asia. the Greek tortoise inhabits a variety of habitats, including some that are particularly arid: rocky hillsides, Mediterranean scrub, forests, fields and meadows are all occupied by the subspecies.
To have a pet tortoise one must be willing to spend an incredible amount of money and patient. Although Greek tortoises can stay fairly small about 5 to 8 inches, they need a lot of help to be healthy. Their enclosure need enough space to walk around. Use large plastic storage tubs or building wooden enclosures instead of using fish tanks for housing the tortoise. An enclosure with 3 feet by 6 feet and around 18 inches tall is suffice for a single adult, though bigger is always better for a pair of adults. However, wood is always recommended over plastic or glass so that they cannot see through their enclosure’s wall.
Also, make sure you remove uneaten food and other visible waste from the enclosure daily to avoid bacteria or pest, and scrub all surfaces of the enclosure with a reptile-safe cleaner weekly.
When the temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, put tortoise some outdoor time to receive plenty time in natural, full sun. However, it is very crucial to never leave your tortoise alone when it is outside. Tortoises can run away faster than you might saw from any movies or cartoons, and to make it worst, they’re really good at hiding. Even though they are good in hiding from human, predators such as raccoons and hawks can scoop them up easily.
In addition to a heat lamp for the basking area, the tortoise also needs UVB-emitting lighting for around 12 hours per day. The UVB promotes vitamin D production in the tortoise, which helps to metabolize calcium and strengthen bones. Without it or sufficient natural sunlight, your tortoise might develop bone abnormalities.
Greek tortoises also need a humidity level between 40% and 60%. Use a hygrometer (humidity gauge) to monitor the enclosure’s moisture level. Maintain humidity by misting the tortoise every other day or as often as needed. Plus, keeping your tortoise’s water dish filled at all times will add humidity.
Greek tortoises are herbivores and do best with a diet that’s high in fiber and low in protein. A variety of dark, leafy greens and other vegetables should be the majority of your tortoise’s diet. It is best to feed your tortoise a few different choices of veggies each day.
You can use a quality commercial pellet for as supplement for your tortoise’s diet. Also, regular dusting of the produce with a calcium powder is often recommended to make sure your tortoise is getting enough calcium.
A water dish should be large enough and easy to access for your shell friend to walk into and drink or defecate when needed. Change the water daily or as needed to maintain cleanliness.
Just like turtles, tortoise prefer not to be handled by humans. Handling is very stressful for our shell friend and it can have a negative impact on their health. Greek tortoises are commonly kept as pets, and their affable personalities make them enjoyable companions but they might bite if picked up. When you do have to handle your tortoise, do so slowly and gently.
Once they know enough of their owners, they tend to be quite social. They even walk right up to people, especially if they see someone with food. Greek tortoises sport a shell that’s tan to yellow with dark brown to black. They’re generally easygoing pets, as long as owners meet their specific care needs.
Greek tortoise generally should have clear eyes, no signs of excess mucus, and a smooth shell without any deformity or decay. Consult the tortoise’s breeder if you can watch it eat. The only tortoise that refuses food is one that is ill. There are other symptoms that you need to watch out to keep them in good condition. Such as:
- Shell rot: Painful shell deformities due to fungal infection
- Respiratory infections: Wheezing and lethargy due to incorrect habitat humidity
- Metabolic bone disease: Imbalance calcium to phosphorous ratio
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