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Experts in reptiles and aquatics

Hermann's Tortoise

Hermann's Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is a small to medium sized tortoise with a colourful black and yellow-patterned carapaces (shell).

The species is divided into Eastern and Western subspecies.

The Western species, Testudo hermanni hermanni, can be found occupying several areas around Southern Europe. From the east coast of Spain and southern regions of France and Italy.

With the two Eastern species, Testudo hermanni hercegovinensis and hermanni boettgeri, found occupying more eastern regions of Europe, from Serbia and Romania, to Greece and mainland Montenegro.

The small size and long life of the species can be a prominent factor and attraction for a would-be keeper, with hatchling Hermann's Tortoises being around 4cm (1.5 inches) in length, and adults averaging in length of around 20-27cm (8-11 Inches).

Living upwards of 70 years under optimal care conditions, it’s certainly a long-term commitment for any potential hobbyist.


The natural habitat of the species ranges from grassy Mediterranean meadows, to arid evergreen and often rocky oak forests of more Eastern regions.

Natural daytime temperature ranges varying between 15-35°c (60-95°f) and night temperatures between 5-25°c depending on regional location and season.

The use of overhead heat and UVB will help achieve these warm and high UV exposure conditions within your chosen enclosure (options will differ depending on enclosure choice).


In the wild tortoises eat a variety of fibrous plants, weeds and flowers so it is best to replicate this within their captive diet, ideally from a renewable organic source. Examples include:

  • Dandelion Greens

  • White/Red/Purple Dead Nettle

  • Plantain varieties

  • White/Purple Clover

  • Hibiscus

  • Nasturtium

When it is harder to source naturally found items, the following alternatives can be found in most supermarkets:

  • Watercress

  • Lambs Lettuce

  • Rocket

  • Spring Greens

  • Romaine Lettuce

The use of a suitable Dry Tortoise Food is also a good way of providing variety in their diet. 

Feed daily until your tortoise is over three years old and then if healthy it can be fed every other day.

Care/Suggested Equipment


  • HabiStat Tortoise Table, 43 x 24 x 9” (DVTT)

  • Monkfield Glass-Sided Tortoise Vivarium, 48 x 18 x 18” (DVGT48)

Heating Element and bulb holder options (if using the HabiStat Tortoise Table, for Hot-end temps of 30-33°c)

  • Arcadia Reflector Clamp Lamp with ceramic holder 20cm (RARM160)

  • Arcadia 2nd Gen UV Basking Lamp (RSMA100E27)

Heating Element, Bulb Holder & Thermostat options (for use with the Monkfield Glass-Sided Tortoise Vivarium, Hot-end temps of 30-33°c):

  • Arcadia Pro Ceramic Lamp Holder and Bracket (RADCHP)

  • Arcadia Solar Basking Floodlight 100w (RSBF100)

  • HabiStat Dimming Thermostat Classic (HTDW)

  • Arcadia Pro T5 UVB Kit 39w (RARTP39F)

In their natural environment during the cooler months where naturally growing food sources a likely lacking, they will enter a hibernation period for 3 to 5 months. This can vary depending on region, but its roughly between November and March where the temperatures can be around 5-10°c (41-50°f).

It can be hard to replicate such conditions within the captive environment, with many keepers not hibernating their Hermann's Tortoise at all. If hibernation is your preferred option and your tortoise is deemed healthy enough to do so by a qualified vet, a popular method is the use of a well-ventilated cardboard or plastic box. Simply fill with shredded paper or use fine wood shavings such as HabiStat Lignocel (HSL10)

The box can then be placed in a domestic fridge to maintain a temperature of approximately 5°c (41°f) for up to 8 weeks during the coldest months (January/February is a good option).


The Hermann’s natural environment and humidity varies depending on the region. Often a soil-based surface is preferred to which they can burrow, creating both sleeping and hibernation quarters when required whilst also providing enrichment.

With humidity averaging around the 60% mark throughout the dry summers and most of the seasons there is however one exception. During the humid spring nights and early mornings humidity can rise upwards of 75%.

With the above in mind, a nice deep substrate that holds a little moisture when lightly sprayed would be good.

Some good options would be:

  • HabiStat Tortoise Bedding (HSTB10)

  • Arcadia EarthMix Arid (RAREA10)

Early morning, once it starts to warm up, the Hermann's Tortoise will emerge in search of food. Once this grazing process has taken place, they will retreat to burrows, leafy outcrops, hedges, and bushes away from the high mid-day heat, only to then re-emerge later in the afternoon once the temperature cools for another grazing opportunity – this is before retreating to their chosen safe shelter again to bed down for the night.


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