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Marginated Tortoises - Testudo marginata

Marginated Tortoises - Testudo marginata
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Marginated Tortoise whose binomial name is TestudoMarginata is the largest European tortoise. They are found in Greece, Italy and Balkans. They weigh up to 5 kilograms and length goes up to 14 inches. This species gets its name from its outwardly flared, jagged and projecting rear marginal scutes. The carapace is quadrilateral and has a distinguished thickness around the middle of the body. A saw-like formation is also visible on the posterior end of the shell. The carapace is black in color with yellow highlights which keeps getting darker with age. Plastron is colored in a lighter shade of olive or yellow with brown or black triangular markings on the larger scutes. Large scales cover the front sides of the limbs. The males and females can be distinguished easily as males are longer in shape and have more profound flaring of the carapace whereas females are broader in girth. Like many species of tortoises, Testudo Marginata also stay active in the early mornings and early evenings whereas the rest of the day is spent resting. Hard shelled eggs are laid by the females in the soil, which are spherical in shape. This process takes place in May and June. They generally stay calm and relaxed. Getting angry easily is not in their nature. Though while mating, males tend to show their aggression. They open their mouth, showing their red tongue and making loud cries. Showing of the red tongue by males works as a signal for females and they move their head from left to right in the same rhythm as the male’s cries.

Testudo Marginata Habitat

Because of their large size, Marginated tortoise should be provided with open spaces. Their terrarium requires a large table top set up. These tortoises are cold tolerant and the temperature of their artificial habitat should be maintained between 75 to 90 degree Fahrenheit. If the temperature goes below this then they will be inclined to hibernate. Presence of UVB light is also important so place a UV tube or lamp. After 6 months the tubes will have to be replaced. They do not require humid setup. Add logs, rocks, and broken plant pots to make the enclosure more exciting and playful for the tortoises. Clean and fresh water in a water dish is also necessary. Let them spend as much time outdoors as possible because natural sunlight is always better than the artificial lights. For their outdoor enclosure, plants like Lavender, Hebes and Pansies can be used.

Testudo Marginata Diet

Like many other tortoises, Marginated Tortoises are also herbivorous. Plants from their native Mediterranean region constitute of their diet. In captivity, they can be provided with Dandelions, clover, salad leaves and also leaves from plantain and crowfoot plants. Grass and hay can also be added in the diet. Fruits and tomatoes should be avoided as these items can cause diarrhea. Remember to keep the intake of protein, under control and do not feed them meat, snails, worms etc. Calcium supplement is also essential as it enables the shell to grow strong.

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