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Greek Tortoise Care and Bioactive Maintenance

Greek Tortoise Care and Bioactive Maintenance

Greek tortoise Caresheet 

Testudo graeca


Life span 

Hatchling size- Hatching small, at about 1 inch 

Adult size - 5-8 inches, with 10 being rare in some subspecies 

The Greek tortoise is one of five Mediterranean chelonians in North Africa, southwest Asia and southern Europe. The other four species are Hermann's tortoise, the Egyptian tortoise, the Marginated tortoise, and the Russian tortoise. Being a variety of browns, golds and tans and smaller than other species, they are a more reasonable size to keep. Male Greek tortoises are typically smaller than females with both having quite the life span; some have been suggested to be over 100 years old but this has not been officially confirmed. 


Terrarium size - 40 gallon sized enclosure for juveniles, with a custom enclosure for an adult. Adults will need larger floor space than a 40 gallon, such as a tortoise table or custom built outdoor enclosure. 3x6 feet is the minimum size recommended for an adult as tortoises in general are very active. Due to their hardiness, they can tolerate a large portion of the southern United States outdoor temperatures, but If the winter temperatures get too low, the tortoise will need an inside enclosure to be safe from the elements.  

Substrate - The Dudes Terra Sahara and Terra Firma substrate mix and it needs to be deep as they will dig and forage almost constantly while exploring. Biodegradables in the soil will be mixed up as the tortoise and clean up crew dig and aerate the soil. It is recommended to utilize larger isopods such as Oranges or Blues to help aerate your soil in conjunction with your springtails. Utilizing a soil inoculant, such as the Dude’s BioShot will be very helpful for your ReptiSeeds,  healthy edible plants and soil longevity .

Decor- Anything used for decor should be solid and sturdy, the enclosure needs to be designed with the expectation the tortoise will use all space available for enrichment and uproot plants, eat them, and knock over anything it can. Plants used need to be safe and edible and they can be transferred from the indoor enclosure to an outdoor enclosure; with the option to bring them inside if the temperatures drop too low. 

Lighting- Active during the day, Greek tortoises will need a UVB light and a basking spot, with a Bio dude Glow and Grow LED for the plants if plants are desired. For tortoises UVB is detrimental for their bodily functions and it is important to make sure the UVB is the right one. We recommend using a ReptiSun 10.0 or an Arcadia 12%. If using a custom large enclosure, a 14% may be necessary if the tortoise is 14”+ away from the UVB bulb. 


  • Basking - 92-100 F
  • Ambient - 75-85 F
  • Night time - 65-75 F 

Humidity - 65-75% with drops as low as 40% during the day. 

Daily clean water as all tortoises (and reptiles in general it seems) love to poop in their water bowls. They will submerge their whole head and body to drink and soak on their own, a flat short dish is best so they can climb in and out. Misting the enclosure daily with a sprayer or by installing a misting system will help with keeping the humidity at the levels needed. 

Diet - Greek tortoises are herbivores and do best with a diet that's high in fiber and low in protein. Weeds such as dandelion, clover, plantain and wild strawberry, Leafy greens such as collard, mustard, kale and turnip, zucchini, broccoli, and shredded carrots can be offered sparingly. Commercial diets such as the Mazuri Tortoise Diet, and Timothy hay and fruit such as raspberries, strawberries and apples make enticing snacks and should be added in small amounts as 10% of their diet. 

Handling - Like all tortoises they will tolerate minimal handling, but prefer to be set down on a stable flat surface so they can explore. They are very food driven and do well using food to associate with humans, this can be used to help them settle in a new home or environment. 

Have a question or need a recommendation? Reach out to our customer care team at       

The Dude Abides 

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  • Josh Halter


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