Looking at a little Testudo graeca here?

Nilean

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Jul 8, 2015
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Dear All,

I’ve found this tortoise while I was trekking in a nearby canyon. The canyon has a rather cool climate with lots of ponds and small water streams; along with various trees and different plants.

Oliver00007.jpg

I googled tortoises for a while and now I’m confused whether this is a Russian tortoise (Afghan tortoise/Steppes tortoise/Central Asian tortoise - Testudo Horsfieldii) or a Mediterranean Spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo Graeca) which is common around here.

All.jpg

Initially, I named it Oliver based on it’s olive color. But now that I’m no longer sure about the gender; I might have to call it Olivia! Based on the tale shape, I'm guessing it's a female.

It has three toes in the front legs, and four in the rear ones (unlike the Testudo Graeca, true?). This brings us to the elephant in the room. If this isn’t a Testudo Graeca, how can it be a Testudo Horsfieldii when there are no reported sightings of it in this region?
Considering the closest reported location is at least 400-500 Kms away makes it quite a surprise. Plus, the shell color and pattern doesn't look like one. (Or maybe there is simply no elephants in the room :) )

Location.jpg

Here are further features for identification:
  • Top Shell Length: 5.5 cm
  • Top shell width: 4.2 cm
  • Top shell color: Khaki - Olive
  • Bottom shell color: Cream
  • Toes are not webbed
I'd be grateful appreciate if anyone could identify this tortoise, it's gender and possibly guess how old it is. Further information about the diet and housing are much appreciated.



Thanks!


P.S: Now that I have looked through more threads (specially the "Which Baby Tortoise Do I Have?") I think it's a Testudo graeca ibera. I'm not sure though.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome to the forum!

It's definitely NOT a Horsefieldii. As to which sub species of Greek it is, let's ask @HermanniChris .
 

HermanniChris

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It's a Greek, Testudo graeca graeca but depending on the exact location will determine if it's a variant/subspecies of T.g. graeca. No way to tell the sex at this age.
 

Nilean

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Thank you all for the answers. I'm setting up her/his terrarium now and it'll be ready in a few days.
 

johnsonnboswell

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Sorry, the real elephant in the room is that you have taken a tortoise from the wild.
 

Nilean

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Jul 8, 2015
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Yes. Now that I've read more and more about tortoises I know what I did was wrong and stupid.
 

johnsonnboswell

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Yes. Now that I've read more and more about tortoises I know what I did was wrong and stupid.
Understandable but unfortunate. Can you return it? If not, we'll help you keep it. If its habitat is not threatened and it has not been exposed to captive animals & it's healthy, it's a good candidate for release where you found it.
 

Nilean

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Dear @johnsonnboswell,

I've already built a 54 liter terrarium (0.6*0.6*0.3 m) for him which I'm going to extend to 108 liters (0.6*0.6*0.3 m). I'm also going to order the following in 2 days:
  • UVB energy saving lamp - UV 300 = 10.0 (300 µW/cm2 at 5 cm distance, 220 µW/cm2 = natural in 7.5 cm), 15 W, 6500 K, high UV-A and UV-B concentration. Along with appropriate mounting equipment.
  • Natural soil, fertilizer free substrate with high humidity capacity combined with compressed coconut humus.
  • Natural looking, resin-free food and water containers with a rescue ladder
  • Heating stone with bite-proof cable and a 20*15 cm surface
  • Cuttlebone and calcium powder for reptiles
  • An analogue thermometer and hydrometer
  • Artificial decoration cactuses (chose cactuses in order to prevent him from biting and chewing them)
  • Organic green food for tortoises made of grass and other green herbs
I've also made a small handmade cave for him to hide out in case he is stressed and a wooden bridge to climb. All of this in order to provide a natural looking healthy environment for him.

I know I have not saved him from nature but I don't think I can return to that location anytime soon. It's a remote location and last time we used SUVs and hiked a lot. However, there is another option: a nearby mountain called Derak which I hike often. The peak is at a 2900m altitude from the sea level (about a 1500 m higher than the base) and there is snow on higher altitudes for at most a month every year. There are no ponds or springs but one can find the following plants and trees in Derak:
  • Pistacia khinjuk
  • Thymus vulgaris
  • (Amygdalus scoparia) Wild almond
  • Rheum
  • Oak trees
  • Pistacia atlantica
  • Cirsium vulgare
  • chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Salvia multicaulis
  • S.sclarea
  • Papaver rhoeas
  • Fritillaria
  • Wild grapes
If you think this is a good spot to release him, I'll be gladly and happily doing that. Here are some photos that I took from this mountain:

IMG_0110_1500.jpg


IMG_0112_r75.jpg


In case you think this place is a good candidate for release please let me know. If it is; I'll be releasing him where I took these photos which has a great number of plants around (Altitude of 2400 m above the sea level and hardly any humans around!)

Thanks​
 
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