Tortoises in Turkey.

tortoises in turkey

Tortoises in Turkey

If you are anything like me every time I see Tortoises in Turkey, either in my garden or wandering by the side of the road it takes me straight back to my childhood, they are so sweet so i wanted to find out more about the ones we have here in Turkey.

There are two species that are found her these are the common tortoise and the Hermann’s tortoise

I wondered how long do tortoises live for?
Generally most  species can live between 80–150 years.

Can tortoises swim?
Unlike their sea faring cousins tortoises can’t swim. A sea turtle has evolved over thousands of years to be able to glide through deep water, whereas the tortoise evolution has created a body structure that allows them to live safely on land.

Are Hermann tortoises good pets?
Hermann’s are a popular species to keep as a pet. They have an individual personality, rare in reptiles, and they can be very sweet and funny. They are a medium-sized tortoise. Adults usually growing up to 13-20 cm.

Do tortoises bite? 
Yes. While they are typically very docile, they use their beaks to bite each other, other pets and sometimes humans.

Are they happy to live a solitary life?
Even very young tortoises naturally live alone, but that doesn’t mean they can’t live with a buddy.

How do I know if my tortoise is happy?
The signs of a happy tortoise are a strong shell, clear, shiny eyes, dry and wrinkly skin and a good appetite. They should be active, walking, moving objects, digging burrows, and climbing.

What do they eat?
Insects, such as slugs, apple, bananas,  mango, cherries in moderation, melon, raspberries, blackberries and grapes sometimes carrion. Tortoises are primarily vegetarian; never feed them a dog or cat food.

What can’t they eat?
Aubergine, broccoli, chilli pepper, alliums, wild mushrooms, and unripe tomatoes, citrus fruit, avocado, prickly lettuce and gooseberry are all bad for them and can make them unwell.

Do tortoises hibernate?
Yes, during winter they will bed down and sleep.

How much water does a tortoise need ?
They can go without fresh drinking water for approx one week in low humidity areas, however after just 2 days they will start to feel unwell as they ideally need fresh water every day.

The complicated rituals of the mating tortoise

when the male tortoise is ready to mate he will bob his head at the female and also nip at her front legs and the front edges of her shell, this causes her stop and pull her head and limbs into her shell, he  then moves behind her and mounts. After mating the gestation period is between 30 days to 3 years!. The female will dig her nest and deposit between 5 – 10 eggs. A healthy wild  tortoise usually lays twice per season, tortoises that don’t have access to a suitable nesting area will not lay their eggs.

Without mating does a female tortoises lay eggs?
Yes, In fact, just like a chicken –, her eggs will appear anyway.

How does a tortoise give birth?
Typically a mother will lay her eggs at night, she will then cover the nest with sand, soil leaves etc and she will then leave them  unattended,  depending on the species, they will  take from 60 to 120 days till they are ready to hatch.

How can i tell if a tortoise is male or female?
The notch on the underside of the shell near the tail is a different shape for both, generally speaking males have a V-shaped notch while females have more of a U shaped notch.

Tortoises in Turkey live wild all around us and if you have one that regularly visits your garden we hope this blog helps with getting to know your little visitor and helping them to stay healthy.

I have added some links to some of our rural properties where tortoises have been regularly seen close by

5 Bedroom Villa in the village of Ciftlikoy

5 Bedroom Villa in Koca Calis

4 Bedroom Villa in Seydikemer



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