How to Care for Greek Tortoise: A Comprehensive Guide

Thinking about getting a Greek tortoise? These popular Mediterranean pets are known for being calm and easy-going, but they still need specific care to stay healthy. So, understanding how to care for Greek tortoise is important for new pet owners. This guide will provide you with important information to ensure your Greek tortoise thrives as your companion.

how to care for greek tortoise
Caring a Greek Tortoise

We’ll explore the requirements for creating a stimulating environment that mimics Greek tortoise natural habitat. Plus, you can delve into the details of a nutritious diet to keep your shelled friend healthy and happy.

Greek Tortoises Characteristics

In fact, Greek tortoises are curious explorers with a friendly side! So, don’t let their slow pace fool you! They love to investigate their surroundings and can be quite social with their own kind. Greek tortoises’ main characteristics are adaptable and hardy. They adjust well to new environments, though they might take some time warming up to you.

how to care for greek tortoise
Greek Tortoises Characteristics

While these gentle reptiles are active, they’re also cautious climbers who prefer the security of their shells when scared. Biting is a rare last resort. Since they’re social creatures, Greek tortoises thrive in pairs. However, make sure their enclosure is spacious enough for everyone to roam comfortably.

Do Greek Tortoises Like to be Held?

how to care for greek tortoise
Do Greek Tortoises Like to be Held

No. Like other reptiles, Greek tortoises don’t like being handled by humans. Too much handling will stress them. It can also affect their health in a wrong way, so be sure not to hold them unless it is necessary. And when you do, do it as gently as possible. If you handle them too often and do not do it gently, they may consider it as a threat and might bite you in self-defense.   

If you want to interact with Greek tortoises, you can gently scratch their shell and hand-feed them. They tolerate these kinds of gestures quite well. 

How Big of a Tank does a Greek Tortoise Need?

how to care for greek tortoise
How Big of a Tank does a Greek Tortoise Need

First and foremost, we will discuss the ideal habitat for your Greek tortoise. To keep them happy and healthy, you need to set an enclosure. We recommend you to replicate their natural Mediterranean environment as closely as possible. If you are still figuring the design out, don’t worry! We will give you some tips on how to care for Greek tortoise. Let’s explore some important factors to consider when designing their enclosure.

  • Size

Greek tortoises are an active species and need plenty of space to roam. The enclosure should be at least two to three times the length of the tortoise and should provide plenty of room, especially if you keep more than just one Greek tortoise. To mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible, give them plenty of room to explore and dig.

  • Environment 

Greek tortoises prefer warm and dry climates and must be kept in an outdoor enclosure if your local climate is suitable. You should also ensure the enclosure is kept in a shady area to provide them with a space to cool down. 

  • Floor Area

Greek tortoises are not excellent climbers and spend most of their time on the ground. This is why you need to pay extra attention to the floor area since it is where they spend their day the most. When learning how to care for Greek tortoises, always fill the space in the floor with a thick layer of substrates. The substrates give them an opportunity to play and dig in. We recommend creating the best substrats from a mix consisting of equal amounts of sand and soil.

  • Hiding Spots

Having hiding spots in the enclosure is recommended when you own Greek tortoises. Set up several hiding spots around their enclosure to accommodate their natural behavior. So, they can retreat when feeling shy or want to avoid the hot sun. Plus, prepare a shallow water dish near the hiding spots. Your Greek tortoises may need to hydrate themselves during scorching weather.

How to Care for Greek Tortoise: Can They Live Indoors?

how to care for greek tortoise
Can Greek Tortoises Live Indoors

Yes, Greek tortoises can live in an indoor enclosure as long as you provide them with an environment that mimics their natural habitat as closely as possible. An outdoor enclosure is ideal for Greek tortoises. However, not every pet owner lives in a drier area; sometimes, an indoor enclosure is the safer option. 

Here are some things to pay attention to when you’re preparing an indoor enclosure for Greek tortoises: 

UV Lights 

It’s important to note that Greek tortoises are mostly diurnal. Diurnal means they are active during the day. Having active pets all day indicates that they need to bask and receive the benefits from sunlights. In fact, artificial lights keep Greek tortoises’ circadian rhythm in check.  Then, how about if you take care for Greek tortoises during winter? UV lights can be your sunlight alternative! 

You can use a full-spectrum UV light bulb as the sunlight substitute. Sok your Greek tortoises can absorb enough necessary light. If you don’t know how to care for Greek tortoises’ UV lights, simply install these bulbs on the basking area. You can leave it for 14 hours/day during summer and 10 hours/day during winter.


Since tortoises are cold-blooded creatures, you are responsible for providing them with the right temperature in their enclosure. Greek tortoises should have a basking temperature between 95-105°F and ambient temperatures between 75-85°F. Use a digital thermometer to keep the temperature in the suitable range. Adjust the temperature accordingly by adjusting the heat lamp. 


Since Greek tortoises prefer a drier environment, they don’t need much humidity except on the cool side. The ideal humidity level for adult Greek tortoises is between 40-% to 60%. On the other hand, younger tortoises or hatchlings need higher humidity levels between 60% and 70%. However, once they grow up to 3 inches, they no longer need this high humidity and can join their older peers. 

How to Decorate Greek Tortoise Enclosure? 

How to Decorate Greek Tortoise Enclosure? 
How to Decorate Greek Tortoise Enclosure

Greek tortoises are not climbers, so they don’t need climbing spots. But this doesn’t mean they don’t need decorations in their enclosure since an empty terrarium can be unstimulating. There are some decorations you can add to their enclosure below: 


This is very important since they like to dig. The substrate should be at least 4 inches thick enough for them to dig comfortably. You can also be creative and shape the substrate into hills with different heights so they have more environmental variations.

Flat store

Place a large flat stone on their basking area so they can comfortably warm themselves up under the heating lamp. 

Hollow logs

They may not be climbers, but they are explorers. Having something such as hollow logs provides them with additional hiding space to cool down, and they can also walk down the logs. 

Hiding cave

Since Greek tortoises love to hide, you must also provide them with hiding caves. It can be a wooden cave or a stone cave. 

Water Bowl

No matter how much they love a dry environment, Greek tortoises still need to soak in a water bowl. Besides hydrating themselves and cooling down, they also need the water bowl to defecate. This is why you must change the water and clean the bowl daily, so that bowl doesn’t get soiled. 

Proper ventilation

Their enclosure should also be well-ventilated. Proper ventilation provides better airflow and is crucial for their respiratory health. It also helps to keep the substrate dry. 

Greek Tortoise Diet

When it comes to diet, Greek tortoises are primarily herbivores. A good mix of dark, leafy greens and vegetables should provide them with the necessary fibers. You can also add some flowers to the mix to give them variations. Fruits can be offered as treats to keep them interested with their food, but in rigorous moderation. If your tortoise doesn’t have a problem with their appetite, it is better to avoid fruits altogether. 

The safest food for Greek tortoises includes cactus or succulents, kale, mustard greens, clover, grape leaves, turnips, and various kinds of grass. You can also throw some flowers, such as dandelions and hibiscus, into the mix. 

Greek Tortoise Diet
Greek Tortoise Diet

Greek tortoises are mainly plant-based eaters and only need a low amount of proteins. You can throw in some natural protein sources such as crickets and mealworms but in a significantly moderated small portion. Consult your vet or an expert to be sure. 

Calcium intake is also very important for their bones and shell development. You can add cuttlebones to their diet so they can nibble and get a calcium source. If you think they don’t get enough calcium or other nutrients, you may need to add supplements or pellets to their food. But please check with your veterinarian first to give them the best supplements on the right portion. 

Most importantly, don’t forget to provide clean and fresh drinking water for their daily hydration.  

How Often Should You Feed a Greek Tortoise?

How Often Should You Feed a Greek Tortoise
How Often Should You Feed a Greek Tortoise

Ideally, you should feed Greek tortoises once every two days. You can also feed them daily but with half of the regular portion. However, once every two days is the best way to do it since their slow metabolism takes longer to process food, so it is better to have a starving day between meals. 

Is Taking Care of a Greek Tortoise Hard? 

Is Taking Care of a Greek Tortoise Hard
Is Taking Care of a Greek Tortoise Hard

Caring for a Greek tortoise is not difficult, but it does require some planning and dedication. As mentioned earlier, they need proper housing and a well-balanced diet that meets their needs. 

Also, ensure you’re providing your Greek tortoise with regular veterinary care. This includes routine checkups and parasite testing. Regular vet visits are also essential to check for any signs of nutrient deficiency, illness, or injury.


So, there you have it all! Greek tortoises may be a perfect choice for active and bright pet owners. Greek tortoises’ active behavior is entertaining, but needs proper supervision. So, it’s crucial learning how to care for Greek tortoises. While caring for them is a long-term commitment, the rewards are immeasurable. With proper care, your Greek tortoise companion can live a happy and healthy life for many years to come. If you’re up for the challenge and can follow the guidelines above, we are sure your Greek tortoises will be the happiest pet in the world!

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