Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Reptiles & amphibians

Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni)


The Hermann’s tortoise is a small to medium species, usually growing no larger than 18cm. Juveniles are characterised by black and yellow markings on the carapace, which fade out as they grow up. The underside is black at both sides, and the central part it’s yellow. The Testudo hermanni has a pointy upper jaw, and no teeth. Males have a longer, and thicker, tail compared to the females.


The Hermann’s tortoise is endemic to the Mediterranean, including Spain Italy and Greece. Hollows covered by bushes are the perfect kind of shelter for the Hermann’s tortoise. During the day, they roam around meadows in search of food.


The Hermann’s tortoise diet is completely vegetarian, but still various. It eats lettuce, dandelions, clovers, the leaves and the flowers of legumes, and fruits. The smell helps it to identify which plants to feed on.

Protection Status

This species is listed as “Near threatened” by the IUCN Red List.

Interesting Fact

This species usually has a long lifespan that can go over 50 years; however, the oldest recorded Hermann’s tortoise was 110 years old.

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