If you are thinking of getting a Hermann’s tortoise to care for you must firstly understand what its natural habitat is and this will then give you an idea of how to care for it in captivity.
This species is golden brown in color with two dark stripes on the plastron (underneath). The carapace (domed top shell) flares out over the back legs and the females are larger than the males. Often the female will be 10 inches long and the male on average will be only 5-6 inches.
If you want to keep a tortoise in captivity it is important to note that for every 12″ of tortoise (measure the plastron) the pet will require 3 square yards. This could mean you will have to provide 9ft x 9ft enclosure which is larger than many people realise!
If you do not provide a suitable enclosure the Hermann’s Tortoise can become stressed and very unwell. All of these species like to have a variety of areas within their enclosure. They need places to bask in the sun, or artificial heat/light source and also places to hide. The Herman likes to hide rather than dig unlike the Horsfield tortoise, they also do not like to be out on show all the time.
The natural habitat for this species is Europe, France through to Italy and Greece. It will therefore require an enclosure that mimics this environment as closely as possible. This means dry, arid and low humidity although this species is more tolerant of damp than some others. However, it does require a dry sunny and preferably outdoor enclosure.
Hibernation is not common to all the chelonian species but the Herman tortoise does and will, given the right conditions estivate in summer (hibernate). They like a herbivorous diet with vegetables and fruit. Also provide a vitamin supplement. Commercially available tortoise pellets can be given but do not rely on these totally. It is better to have a variety in their diet but the bulk of it should if possible be fresh food. Water is of course important so have a shallow dish that will not tip over if your pet gets stuck.
The Hermann’s tortoise makes an excellent pet as long as you can provide the correct environment for its needs. Remember it could live for many years so the commitment is quite considerable both in time and money but they are fantastic pets and once you have one you will find yourself wanting more!
Ellie Bear is tortoise enthusiast who has kept and cared for them for many years. If you would like to learn more about keeping these amazing and fascinating creatures go to TortoiseTips.com where you can learn much more about keeping and caring for a Hermann’s Tortoise.