Skip to main content

Mediterranean tortoise

Testudo graeca


Mediterranean tortoises have been imported around the world since the 1890s. More than 10 million tortoises have passed through the UK alone since that time, most of them Mediterranean tortoises. These are the most popular tortoises in the UK. In the 1970s and 1980s there were widely kept as pets. This removal of so many tortoises from their natural habitat put severe pressure on the populations of these species.

There is an EEP for this species and it is listed under Appendix II of CITES

These tortoises can grow to up to 36 centimetres in length.

In 1984, the trade of wild tortoises was totally banned.

  Fun fact Tortoises can’t swim

Animal class

Reptile

Conservation status

Believed to be a risk of extinction in future, with threats from habitat destruction, the pet trade, hunting for meat and shells.

Habitat

Grasslands and forest – found in North Africa, southern Europe and the middle East.

Population

Exact figures are unknown, but the population of the Mediterranean tortoise is thought to be declining rapidly.

Diet

Herbivore – eats leaves, fruit and other plant materials