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Marginated tortoise

Marginated tortoise

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Scientific Name:

Testudo marginata


Central and Southern Greece, Corfu, Skyros and Paros. Introduced in Sardinia.


Grass, herbs, fruits.


Lives in very diversified habitats from agricultural lands to forests. The population of Sardinia was introduced during the Roman times when seamen brought Marginated Tortoises from Greece as presents for their intended wives. In May/June the female will lay usually 8 – 10 eggs (a female was recorded to have laid 26 eggs over 1 week period) in a hole that it digs with its back feet. Incubation is 2 to 4 months depending on the temperature around the eggs (25° to 33°C). Babies are born with a soft shell and mortality is very high in the first months due mainly to predators (foxes, magpies, cats, rats). They live up to 100 years old.

In Greece: It is one of the very few animals species found only in Greece. Until a few years ago they were caught and exported to Europe for the pet trade, sometimes in very large quantities. It is now protected and all exports are banned, however there is still some illegal trade being carried out.


The species is considered vulnerable.

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