Greek Tortoises are one of the most popular pet tortoises and are known for their docile personalities and hardy nature. But like all animals, they require proper care and suitable habitat to thrive.
Greek tortoises are interesting species native to the Mediterranean region. Their lively personalities and playful nature make them excellent pets for experienced owners. If you’re considering getting a Greek tortoise, you’ll need to know how to properly care for them. Here we’ve put together some helpful information on giving your Greek tortoise the best care.
Greek Tortoises Characteristics
Greek tortoises are active species with a friendly and curious nature. They love to explore their environment and can be pretty social. This species is also quite hardy and can quickly adapt to its new home. However, they sometimes take a while to get used to their new owner.
They are also relatively slow and cautious and are not great climbers. They are more inclined to hide in their shells when threatened and won’t usually bite unless they feel particularly threatened.
Greek tortoises are active and social creatures and should not be kept alone. If you plan to keep multiple tortoises together, provide plenty of space to ensure they all have enough room to move around.
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?
First and foremost, let’s discuss the ideal habitat for your Greek tortoise. For optimal health, a Greek tortoise should live in an environment miming its natural habitat. The following are some factors to consider when you are preparing an enclosure for Greek Tortoises:
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.
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. Fill the space with a thick layer of substrates so they can dig in. The best substrate mix consists of equal amounts of sand and soil.
- Hiding Spots
The enclosure should also have plenty of hiding spots to accommodate their natural behavior. You should also provide a shallow water dish for the tortoise to drink from.
You Might Also Like:
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:
It’s important to note that Greek tortoises are primarily diurnal or active during the day. This means your pet needs access to natural and artificial light to keep its circadian rhythm in check. A full-spectrum UV light bulb should be used to provide them with the necessary light. You can install a UV light on the basking area and 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?
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.
Place a large flat stone on their basking area so they can comfortably warm themselves up under the heating lamp.
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.
Since Greek tortoises love to hide, you must also provide them with hiding caves. It can be a wooden cave or a stone cave.
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.
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 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?
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?
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.
If you’re looking for a pet that is both easy to take care of and friendly, a Greek tortoise may be a perfect choice. They are an interesting species that can provide lots of fun and entertainment. Caring for a Greek tortoise is a big responsibility, but it can also be a rewarding experience. Your Greek tortoise can live a long and healthy life with proper care. So if you’re ready to take on the challenge of owning a Greek tortoise, ensure you’re following all the above.
- Hibernation Blog 4: Waking your tortoise from hibernation
- Hibernation Blog 3: Hibernating your tortoise
- Hibernation Blog 2: Winding down your tortoise
- Hibernation Blog 1: Preparing your boxes to hibernate your tortoise in the fridge
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Hibernation