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Testudo graeca terrestris (Mesopotamian)

Jordan

Adult Size

Males grow about 6" and weigh 300-500g.


Females grow 8-10" and weigh at least 1,000g.

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

They come from a hot, dry, desert environment and do not like a habitat that is too moist. A humid hide provided in their enclosure will suffice for their needs. Enclosure humidity should be around 40-50%.

Description

The carapace is nearly fully orange-gold in color, with little black markings.

Brumation

This subspecies does not brumate but can slow down its activity for a brief time. It is best to bring indoors and continue providing proper lighting and heat.

Natural Environment

Hot, dry, sandy desert.

Syria

Adult Size

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

They come from a hot, dry, desert environment and do not like a habitat that is too moist. A humid hide provided in their enclosure will suffice for their needs. Enclosure humidity should be around 40-50%.

Description

The carapace is nearly fully bright yellow with no black markings.

Brumation

This subspecies does not brumate but can slow down its activity for a brief time. It is best to bring indoors and continue providing proper lighting and heat.

Natural Environment

Hot, dry, sandy desert.

Gaza (Bodenheimer's Floweri)

Adult Size

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

They come from a hot, dry, desert environment and do not like a habitat that is too moist. A humid hide provided in their enclosure will suffice for their needs. Enclosure humidity should be around 40-50%.

Description

The carapace is nearly fully bright yellow with black markings. The head is also yellow and there is a dark spot on the tail.

Brumation

This subspecies does not brumate but can slow down its activity for a brief time. It is best to bring indoors and continue providing proper lighting and heat.

Natural Environment

Hot, dry, sandy desert.

Lebanon

Adult Size

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

They come from a hot, dry, desert environment and do not like a habitat that is too moist. A humid hide provided in their enclosure will suffice for their needs. Enclosure humidity should be around 40-50%.

Description

The carapace is nearly fully black with little to no yellow or orange coloring.

Brumation

This subspecies does not brumate but can slow down its activity for a brief time. It is best to bring indoors and continue providing proper lighting and heat.

Natural Environment

Hot, dry, sandy desert.

Golden and Not So Golden

"Golden Greeks"

The term "Golden Greek" is one of those fancy nicknames that misinformed breeders developed to attract attention. There are a variety of Testudo graeca terrestris, and not all of them are "golden" in color.


To solely label this subspecies as a "Golden Greek" is incorrect. The proper name is "Mesopotamian." But the fabricated nickname is catchy and so popular now that there is no stopping it.

"Black Greeks"

Just like the infamous "Golden Greeks," the "Black Greek" does not exist. Most breeders identify the Testudo graeca terrestris from Lebanon to be the "Black Greek" because its carapace and plastron are mostly black in color.


Also, even the darker versions of the Testudo graeca terrestris can breed offspring that is lighter and more "golden" in color.

Breeding

Sexual Maturity

Males are mature when their plastron is 4-5" in length.


Females are mature when their plastron is 6-7" in length.

Nesting

The female will dig a flask-shaped nesting chamber, 4-7" long, with her hind legs before depositing her eggs.

Eggs

A female can lay anywhere from 3-6 eggs in a clutch. They can lay up to 4 clutches per year.

Incubation

Artificial incubation temperatures are 84-88 degrees Fahrenheit.


Cooler temperatures will result in males. Higher temperatures will result in females. Middle temperatures will result in a mix of males and females.


Eggs incubate for 55-70 days.

Testudo graeca terrestris (Care Sheet)

Files coming soon.