Southern Moroccan

Adult Size

Specimens observed in the wild found that the maximum carapace length of adult females was 9-10" (248.3 mm), with adult males measuring 7-8" (200.3 mm).


Growth rate is relatively high in juveniles and then slows down in both sexes after sexual maturity. Adult females are larger than males with a relatively delayed sexual maturity.

Diet

High in fiber, rich in calcium, and low in protein. Weeds, broadleaf greens, flowers, optunia cactus and optunia fruit. Organic store-bought greens and Mazuri on occasion. No fruit - too high in sugars.

Humidity

Very little humidity. Must be kept in a warm, dry habitat.

Description

Coloration can be lighter overall, with sand to yellow coloring on the carapace, though some can have darker coloring. They look very similar to their marokkensis neighbors in the northern region of Morocco.


In the United States, this subspecies is pending genetic investigation to confirm clarity.


The absence of femoral tubercles (spurs) and of a split supracaudal are not true distinguishing features of this subspecies, as they occur in only 23% and 8% of the tortoises examined exclusively in the wild population of Admine (Souss Valley).

Brumation

Observations in the wild found that brumation does not occur in the Admine Forest, Souss Valley, where average monthly mean temperatures in the coolest part of the year (December and January) do not fall below 56 - 59° Farenheit (15 - 14° Celsius) respectively. Average daily temperatures in winter are typically 75° Farenheit (24° Celsius) in November, 69° Farenheit (21° Celsius) in December and 89° Farenheit (31° Celsius) in January.

Environment

T. g. soussensis occurs in lower quality habitats with low rainfall and high thermal seasonality in semi-arid and arid zones of the central-western and southeastern parts of Morocco.


They are also encountered on the mid-Atlantic coastal area in sand dunes and within Argan forests, among scattered shrubs around cultivated fields.