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Marginated Tortoise

Name Tetsudo marginata
Type Hibernates, likes to bask in hot spots
Where am I from? Greece, Italy, Med, Balkans
Handle-ability Excellent can be handled and well tamed
Length/size 14 inches
Suitable for Beginner
Life span Can live for 100 years!


The best way of housing your tortoise indoors, is in a tortoise table or some other sort of open enclosure. A minimum of 4 square feet for one tortoise is a guide size, but obviously the bigger the better. If you are housing more than one tortoise (and especially if you have a male and female(s)) you need to ensure plenty of space and some sight breaks within your set up. A substrate of playsand and topsoil is ideal for these tortoises.

Outdoors, a secure area is essential, especially for juvenile tortoises to prevent predation, theft, or escape. This outdoor area needs to be as large as possible with a variety of plants, soil and lawn being the best habitat. A wooden shelter with a rainproof lid is essential to provide shelter and a cooler, darker environment. The outdoor area also needs to be escape proof as Marginated can dig and climb. A run on a lawn is not suitable for a Marginated tortoise as the grass is too damp and may cause health problems.


Marginated tortoises require a basking spot with a reasonably high temperature. The cool end of the enclosure should be at least 22C, with the warm end reaching at least 30C. The warmer end is best provided by either a spot bulb, or a combined bulb(mercury vapour lamp) which will also provide UV.

Tortoises can generally be left outside without heating in this country from May to September, but many people provide additional heating outdoors, or bring their tortoises in overnight or in inclement weather.


Marginated tortoises require a full spectrum light if kept indoors, which produces UVb and UVa light. This can be a strip light(we use a 10.0 combined with a 2.0), or a combined mercury vapour bulb which will also provide basking light. UV strip lights should be replaced every season. If kept outdoors, they will get the light they need from the sun.


Marginated tortoises do well at low to moderate humidity. Higher humidity may cause respiratory problems. Provision of a moist substrate into which the tortoise can burrow, will allow regulation of humidity and temperature as required.


Marginated tortoises are strictly herbivorous. They eat a variety of plants such as dandelions, clover, sow thistle, bindweed, plantains, vetch, pansys, geraniums, hostas etc. They need to be fed daily with enough weeds to cover their shell, and these need to be dusted with calcium daily, and a vitamin supplement once or twice a week.


Marginated tortoises would hibernate naturally in the wild through the winter months. We recommend your tortoise is hibernated each year between 4 and 8C for 3-4 months.

Buying Tips

Ask to handle the tortoise to gauge it's health. It should be active, with a firm shell and clear bright eyes, and no faecal staining around the vent. A healthy tortoise should move easily, and have no deformity to the shell or legs.


There are no tortoise morphs that we are aware of at the present time, but is one of four species know collectively as Mediterranean Tortoises.