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Marginated Tortoise

Testudo marginata

  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Adult Size: 8 to 12 lbs.
  • Range: Greece, Southern Balkan Peninsula.
  • Habitat: Hills and mountain areas.
  • Captive Lifespan: More than 20 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Intermediate

Overview

The marginated tortoise is a unique looking tortoise because of its extremely flared marginal scutes from which it gets its name. The males’ marginal scutes are usually much more flared than on the female.

Wild caught specimens of this tortoise used to be a commonly imported tortoise but is now not imported at all as wild caught tortoises because it is protected throughout its range. Because of successful breeding in captivity it is now becoming more commonly available as captive born tortoises.

Marginated tortoises are very cold tolerant and should be maintained at a temperature range of 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the basking site. If temperatures fall below this they will be inclined to hibernate which they do in the wild when the seasons dictate it.

These tortoises are opportunistic feeders in that they will take the usual dark leafy greens, weeds and some grasses. They are not known to be very active grazers. Marginateds are also known to consume insects, snails and carrion. In captivity they can be fed dark leafy greens, fibrous fruits such as pears and apples in addition to various berries. The main idea is to feed as varied as possible. Clean fresh water in a water dish should be provided at all times.

One important note on breeding is that the marginated tortoise is one of the most aggressive tortoises when it comes to breeding. Aggressive ramming towards the female can be so severe that female marginateds have been killed in the process.

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