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Species Recognition and Requirements

As a responsible tortoise owner it is absolutely imperative to know the exact species of animal one is caring for. Only when this knowledge has been gained can one start to offer the correct husbandry relevant to the particular animal’s needs.

There are literally hundreds of different species of tortoise. Some are tiny, some grow huge, some hibernate, others aestivate, and some don’t do either. Some tortoises are omnivorous, some are herbivorous. Some love direct sunlight, others aren’t that far from being nocturnal. Some live in rock crevices, others dwell in tropical rain forests.

However, it is the tortoises that belong to the “Mediterranean group” that were the most popular to be imported and kept as pets in the UK and Northern Europe, and it is this group of animals that this website is primarily concerned with.

If you do not recognise your charges as being part of this group then you could possibly own a species with completely different accommodation and dietary needs. Do not be tempted to offer any husbandry methods contained within this website to any other kind of tortoise.

The following species are the most likely pet tortoises to be encountered in existing captive situations in Europe, or ones which are finding their way into the pet trade through recent breeding projects.

Click on any of the links below for information on the different species: