Marginated Tortoise

Marginated Tortoise

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Superfamily
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Testudo marginata
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
100-140 yrs
WEIGHT
up to 5 kg
LENGTH
35 cm

The Marginated tortoise is the largest European tortoise. Its shell is oblong and has a notable thickness around the middle of the body. The posterior end of the shell has a saw-like formation, flanged outward like a bell. The carapace of an adult specimen is almost completely black, with yellow highlights. The ventral shell is lighter-colored and has pairs of triangular markings with the points facing the rear of the animal. The front sides of the limbs are covered with large scales. The tail is notable for a lengthwise marking and for an undivided carapace over the tail. The male has a longer tail, which is thicker at the base than the female's. The underside is more strongly indented. Males are also often larger than females.

Di

Diurnal

He

Herbivore

Te

Terrestrial

Pr

Precocial

Bu

Burrowing

Ov

Oviparous

Te

Territorial

Ge

Generally solitary

No

Not a migrant

Hi

Hibernating

M

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Countries
Introduced Countries
Biogeographical realms

Marginated tortoises are found in southern Greece, from the Peloponnesus to Mount Olympus, in isolated zones of the Balkans and Italy, and northeastern Sardinia. They live in mountainous regions, dense thorny scrub, gardens, and agricultural areas.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Marginated tortoises are generally solitary and hibernate for the winter. They are fairly calm and relaxed, although they can be somewhat territorial in the wild. Early in the morning, Marginated tortoises bask in the sun to raise their body temperature, and then search for food. After feeding, they return to their shelters in the hot midday hours, leaving them again in the late afternoon. The black color of the carapace of these tortoises is helpful for survival in their natural environment; it allows them to absorb a great deal of heat in a short time and helps to maintain their body temperature.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Marginated tortoises are herbivorous and their diet consists primarily of plants from their native Mediterranean region.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
May-June
INDEPENDENT AGE
at birth
FEMALE NAME
female
MALE NAME
male
BABY NAME
hatchling
BABY CARRYING
15 eggs

Marginated tortoises start breeding right after hibernation and lay their eggs in May and June. The males follow the females with great interest, encircling them, biting them on the limbs, and ramming them. After the mating, the female seeks out an adequate location to lay her eggs. Once such a place is found, the female stands still, propping both front legs firmly against the ground. Then she digs out a hole with her hind legs. Once the hole is dug, egg-laying begins. Each egg is gently rolled back into the hole. After the last egg, the female immediately begins refilling the hole, again using her hind legs. Finally, she stamps the opening closed with her feet so that the ground regains its natural hardness. Larger females may lay eggs as many as three times per summer, with about 15 eggs per clutch. The incubation period averages about 100 days under natural conditions, which is relatively short among tortoises. After the embryo has developed fully in the egg, the baby tortoise breaks the shell with its egg tooth from inside, creates a small opening, and for the first time fills its lungs with air. Afterward, it pulls back into the egg and works on the shell with its beak until it opens completely. The hatchlings remain below ground for the first 2 weeks, where they are safe from predators, yet are still able to grow, as they are nourished by the yolk sac. The young lead cautious and secretive lives, normally remaining in the shade. They avoid full sunlight because of the great danger of overheating.

Population

Population threats

The main threats to this species include wildfires, habitat loss, and collection for the illegal pet trade.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Marginated tortoise total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

References

1. Marginated Tortoise on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marginated_tortoise
2. Marginated Tortoise on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/21653/176606013

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