Need help to recognize the subspecies for my spur thigh

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ismail

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Anyone can recognize the subspecies for my Testudo Graeca?
So i was given two tortoises recently from a guy he had absolutely no idea which species they were. This man had bought some tortoises when he was younger. He kept them in his garden (in Malta EU -climate is very similar to their own) and fed them greens. they survived and now twenty years later they are now laying eggs that actually hatch but he told me all his hatchings were not surviving the first year. I have my own opinion what sub species but need someone to confirm. I am sure they are spur thigh Testudo Greaca because the spurs are visible.

Can someone identify the subspecies please?




Read more: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/newthread.php?fid=83&processed=1#ixzz2BdEyDxEw
 

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CactusVinnie

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It does not seem to be from the northern group, the Iberas. But impossible to tell more when a baby pic, parent pics would be useful.
Anyway, Malta is ok for any Graeca, and I wonder why your friend's hatchlings did not survive!! I suspect he kept them indoors, and lacking the knowledge how to do that.
I bet that if he would just let them be in the garden, they would have lived. They do so even in southern France, when babies from undetected clutches appear in spring- and I mean African Graeca, not the hardier Ibera! Malta climate is, as you say, even better than s-France... very good for any Graeca, including hatchlings.
 

ismail

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CactusVinnie said:
It does not seem to be from the northern group, the Iberas. But impossible to tell more when a baby pic, parent pics would be useful.
Anyway, Malta is ok for any Graeca, and I wonder why your friend's hatchlings did not survive!! I suspect he kept them indoors, and lacking the knowledge how to do that.
I bet that if he would just let them be in the garden, they would have lived. They do so even in southern France, when babies from undetected clutches appear in spring- and I mean African Graeca, not the hardier Ibera! Malta climate is, as you say, even better than s-France... very good for any Graeca, including hatchlings.

Yes he kept them indoors! Now i made him buy a uv lamp and a ceramic heater for this year maybe he can save some hatchlings. i think its best to keep them inside for the first years rather than in his garden because where he lives it can get very windy and the humidity is always very high.
 

CactusVinnie

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Yes he kept them indoors!

Yep... just like I thought so.
And if you say "some hatchlings", that means you can try something: let at least half of them to burrow naturally, and just protect that place against abundant rainfall; not allowing to became bone dry, of course. Do not fear, underground they will be safe, and they live very well in windy or not windy locations. It's just that for now- prevent excessive moisture and dehydration.

An 1square meter wooden frame enclosure with diggable sandy ground under a small "house" filled with dead leaves it's all that you need. A meshwire/chickenwire above, a tarp for very rainy periods and monthly checks it's all you (or him) have to do. Keep an eye on rodents that can reach by underground ways the babies location, if the case.

"Risk" half of them now, and you will see that the outdoor group will reemerge 100%, but I cannot have the same confidence about the indoor group. Maybe ok too, if you have a good hand... but I bet on the outdoor ones. Losing so many hatchlings for years should tell you something- the same thing French keepers noticed in hatchling and yearling mortality:
"25% loses in non-hibernating babies, 4% loses in hibernating ones."
Numbers speak for themselves.

I am not speaking theories, just my- and others- 100% hatchling survival after hibernation.

Just try, and ask details, i'll be glad to help. I'll post some pics tomorrow, it's somewhat related to your topic. You'll see how they do when winter is coming; difference is, you should build that type of "baby tortoise house" and let them plunge underground for the winter, while I will digg them up in order to place them in controlled hibernation.
Plenty of mice and winter moisture here, and, you can imagine, no chance of checking them when 30-70 cm of snow and ice will cover everything, maybe for 1-2 months without thawing. Sometimes, it can be 3 months... and I just want to exclude avoidable loses.
 

ismail

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Anyone can recognize this?

Hi this is my friend's spur thigh. What sub species you think it is? my guess is ibera? or maybe nabulensis?
 

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CactusVinnie

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No, definitely not from Ibera-group, but I don't know if nabeulensis... for me, even marokkensis and cyrenaica may be suspected. I really don't know, maybe from better pictures, carapace, plastron and lateral view.
So, clearly a north-African, no match in hardiness for an Ibera, but quite fit for Malta, in a protected spot.
 

ismail

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CactusVinnie said:
No, definitely not from Ibera-group, but I don't know if nabeulensis... for me, even marokkensis and cyrenaica may be suspected. I really don't know, maybe from better pictures, carapace, plastron and lateral view.
So, clearly a north-African, no match in hardiness for an Ibera, but quite fit for Malta, in a protected spot.

Fabian,

I will be commenting on my two small tortoises not the big one. The yellow patch on their heads make me think that they are Testudo Graeca Nabulensis. From all the literature i gathered it is always recommended not to hibernate them. Furthermore their parents do not hibernate. don't you think we should know the subspecies before i tell him to hibernate them?
 

CactusVinnie

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Babies are not reliable to tell the subspecies.
Yes, you are right, Nabeulensis is not a true hibernator (like 5*C for 3-5 months), but it will do fine outdoors in Malta. Check the weather data, it is the same climate.
They will emerge and hide following the weather, not true burrowers. They have not even the tendency to digg deeper if more cold arrive, like Ibera does; they just sit partially burrowed.
That's why I said about Malta as being perfect for any Graeca- even most sensitive taxons will do fine, as long as protected from extreme rainfall or very cold events. Tarp ;)!!
So, outdoor at my place, or in a fridge, classical cold hibernation, Tunisians will maybe last no more than a month, but you are in a more fortunate area for Graeca keepers.
Check the method in my signature- that works for cool indoor in temperate areas for "mild brumation" taxons. I have an average of about 15*C in my rooms, but no Malta sun!

BTW- the Sardinia Graecas are in fact a mix of Nabeulensis and Graeca from adjacent populations- not native there, they were brought and do well, despite 2-3*C lower in winter.

So, no fancy fridge hibernation, just let them in a small outdoor enclosure, better near the south wall of the house or something similar, and protecton at hand for bad days. They will know what to do better. And... considering that keeping them indoor he always lost all of them, why not approaching natural keeping and observing them? It may bring true revelations about their needs. I would let them ALL outdoors, not just half. I learned a lot by just observing their behaviour outdoors.

Sorry, I was very busy today, not managing to work at the babies enclosure and taking pics... Maybe tomorrow.
 

GBtortoises

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CactusVinnie said:
Babies are not reliable to tell the subspecies.
Yes, you are right, Nabeulensis is not a true hibernator (like 5*C for 3-5 months), but it will do fine outdoors in Malta. Check the weather data, it is the same climate.
They will emerge and hide following the weather, not true burrowers. They have not even the tendency to digg deeper if more cold arrive, like Ibera does; they just sit partially burrowed.
That's why I said about Malta as being perfect for any Graeca- even most sensitive taxons will do fine, as long as protected from extreme rainfall or very cold events. Tarp ;)!!
So, outdoor at my place, or in a fridge, classical cold hibernation, Tunisians will maybe last no more than a month, but you are in a more fortunate area for Graeca keepers.
Check the method in my signature- that works for cool indoor in temperate areas for "mild brumation" taxons. I have an average of about 15*C in my rooms, but no Malta sun!

BTW- the Sardinia Graecas are in fact a mix of Nabeulensis and Graeca from adjacent populations- not native there, they were brought and do well, despite 2-3*C lower in winter.

So, no fancy fridge hibernation, just let them in a small outdoor enclosure, better near the south wall of the house or something similar, and protecton at hand for bad days. They will know what to do better. And... considering that keeping them indoor he always lost all of them, why not approaching natural keeping and observing them? It may bring true revelations about their needs. I would let them ALL outdoors, not just half. I learned a lot by just observing their behaviour outdoors.

Sorry, I was very busy today, not managing to work at the babies enclosure and taking pics... Maybe tomorrow.

I agree with Vinnie, definitely not northern Ibera, I don't believe southern race either. Baby Greeks are very difficult to determine subspecies of. Many look similar at that age and are often difficult to tell for certain even up to a year old or more.
 

ismail

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This is my new setup
 

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biochemnerd808

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Your tort babies are so cute!! I like the tank also - with the 2 wooden walls it helps them feel secure.

I have a few pieces of feedback on the set-up, I hope you don't take it personal:
-sand is not a great substrate for tortoises, as they can ingest it, and die. Coconut coir (compressed coconut fibers that have been re-hydrated) or organic garden soil mixed with a LITTLE bit of sand are better.

-the torts need a hide-spot, like a tipped-over ceramic flowerpot or a hollow half-log.

-tortoises need different temperature zones in their enclosures, with a hot basking zone that is around 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), and a cool zone that is around 60-70 degrees F (18 C or so). This way the torts can move around from temp zone to temp zone as they feel too hot or too cold

-the "coil" kind of UVB bulbs are actually really bad for tortoises - they will cause them to go blind. This can happen within weeks of use.
Here are links to several threads about this kind of bulb: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-35247.html#axzz2CF6gTh6P
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-45279.html#axzz2CF6gTh6P

It is better to use the "tube" kind of UVB light, or even better, an all-in-one UVB and heat like the Powersun. I use the "tube" kind, and replace it every Fall.

-don't bother with the pellet food. Just a variety of leafy greens and cactus pads and the like is good. The pellet food is not formulated properly for Greek torts. It is too high in starch and protein, and will cause problems with growth...

That's all for now, I hope you aren't offended - I know you will do a great job caring for your babies, and I only spoke up because I don't want your little ones to get ill!

ismail said:
This is my new setup
 

ismail

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biochemnerd808 said:
Your tort babies are so cute!! I like the tank also - with the 2 wooden walls it helps them feel secure.

I have a few pieces of feedback on the set-up, I hope you don't take it personal:
-sand is not a great substrate for tortoises, as they can ingest it, and die. Coconut coir (compressed coconut fibers that have been re-hydrated) or organic garden soil mixed with a LITTLE bit of sand are better.

[I now have 50% play pit sand and 50% compost. the setup was not finished yet!]

-the torts need a hide-spot, like a tipped-over ceramic flowerpot or a hollow half-log.

[Yes i know, i ordered one but it is taking ages to come!]

-tortoises need different temperature zones in their enclosures, with a hot basking zone that is around 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), and a cool zone that is around 60-70 degrees F (18 C or so). This way the torts can move around from temp zone to temp zone as they feel too hot or too cold.

[In Malta it is never 18degrees!! actually the other corner is somewhere near 23deg, but they like to stay under the lamp. once they'll grow the setup will grow and will make sure that there is a temperature difference of 10degrees between corners]

-the "coil" kind of UVB bulbs are actually really bad for tortoises - they will cause them to go blind. This can happen within weeks of use.
Here are links to several threads about this kind of bulb: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-35247.html#axzz2CF6gTh6P
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-45279.html#axzz2CF6gTh6P

It is better to use the "tube" kind of UVB light, or even better, an all-in-one UVB and heat like the Powersun. I use the "tube" kind, and replace it every Fall.

[i am no expert on tortoises but i do know something on lights. a uv lamp's intensity is higher on purchase. it will get duller (in terms of uv) as time goes by. i was using that lamp in my bird room for more than a month so the torts did not get the initial intensity. Furthermore i never noticed that they are keeping their eyes closed or any swellings. but thanks for the recommendation]

-don't bother with the pellet food. Just a variety of leafy greens and cactus pads and the like is good. The pellet food is not formulated properly for Greek torts. It is too high in starch and protein, and will cause problems with growth...

[ :( and normally i get happy when is see them eating the pellets!]

That's all for now, I hope you aren't offended - I know you will do a great job caring for your babies, and I only spoke up because I don't want your little ones to get ill!

[No offence mate...we're still learning!]

ismail said:
This is my new setup
 

biochemnerd808

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That's so awesome that your set-up can grow as the little torts grow. :)

Glad you have the mixed substrate now, I bet the torts love digging in it!

23 degrees C on the cool side is totally fine. Since your torts come from your region (general mediterranean area), the temps you have are probably more ideal than ours over here in NW USA. (Malta is beautiful, by the way. My class went there for 10 days when I was in high school, back when we lived in Germany).

While you wait for the hide log, you might put a little shoebox or an upside-down egg carton or something in there.

It will be so special to watch your little torts grow!
 
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