Hermann's tortoise (Testudo

-from flickr

) is one of five tortoise species traditionally placed in the genus Testudo, which also includes the well-known Marginated tortoise (T. marginata), Greek tortoise (T. graeca), and Russian tortoise (T. horsfieldii), for example. Three subspecies are known: theWestern Hermann's tortoise (T. h. hermanni), the Eastern Hermann's tortoise (T. h. boettgeri) and Dalmatian tortoise (T. h. hercegovinensis). Sometimes mentioned subspecies T. h. peleponnesica is not yet confirmed to be genetically different to T. h. boettgeri.

Description and systematicsEdit

Hermann's tortoises are small to medium sized tortoises that come from southern Europe. Young animals, and some adults, have attractive black and yellow patterned carapaces, although the brightness may fade with age to a less distinct gray, straw or yellow coloration. They have a slightly hooked upper jaw and, like other tortoises, possess no teeth, just a strong, horny beak. Their scaly limbs are greyish to brown, with some yellow markings, and the tail bears a spur (a horny spike) at the tip. Adult males have particularly long and thick tails, and a well developed spur, distinguishing them from females.

The eastern subspecies Testudo hermanni boettgeri is much larger than the west, reaching sizes up to 28 cm (11 inches) in length. A specimen of this size may weigh 3-4 kg (6-9 lb). T. h. hermanni rarely grow larger than 18 cm (7.5 inches). Some adult specimens are as small as 7 cm (3 inches).

In the UKEdit

This species is a very popular pet, and quite suprisingly they are excellent escape artists and are often found in gardens in the UK. But it still unsure if any breeding pairs exsist and unlikly that any ever will, but these may be stumled upon often, along with the Spur-thighed Tortoise; another popular pet.

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