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Golden Greek Tortoises

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adult Golden Greek tortoise

Adult Golden Greek tortoise

Golden Greek tortoises

Golden Greeks are one of the newer pet tortoises. They have been offered for sale in the U.S. for about a decade or so. Their beautiful looks and friendly, "outgoing" personalities have made them popular. Captive-bred Golden babies are available in increasing numbers.

The exact origin and species / subspecies of Golden Greeks has been somewhat of a mystery, but they are said to be native to the Eastern Mediterranean. They have been typically listed as Testudo graeca terrestris or Testudo graeca floweri. Per IUCN-TFTSG checklist, both of these subspecies are currently listed under the first one as Testudo graeca terrestris.

However, any yellowish colored Greek tortoise can be called a Golden Greek tortoise regardless of its subspecies. In captivity, Golden Greeks from various unknown origins have been bred with each other further blurring the actual species or subspecies of these animals.

The shell coloring of Greek tortoises is highly influenced by their native habitat. Yellow colored Greeks are thought to come from hot, sandy areas of the Middle East and possibly also from northeast Africa. Some Goldens are more yellow while others are more orange or peach colored depending on the color of their native soil. Golden Greeks typically have a darker central dot on each scute, but some are almost patternless.

Taxonomy

Most commonly, Golden Greek tortoises are listed as T.g. terrestris, but they can also be of other Greek tortoise subspecies. For example, Greeks from southern Turkey can be quite yellow in coloring. They have commonly been classified as T.g. ibera or T.g. antakyensis (now included in T.g. terrestris).

Official name

Synonyms (IUCN/SCC TFTSG checklist)

Common names

T.g. terrestris vs T.g. floweri

Even though T. [graeca] floweri is now listed as a synonym for T. graeca terrestris per IUCN/SCC TFTSG checklist (1), there are said to be differences between the two.

T.g. floweri is described as being smaller, flatter, and more yellow than T.g. terrestris. It has a yellow head and a dark spot on the tail. The dark markings on the shell are crisp. Care for both is the same. (2)

Origin

Golden Greek tortoise 13 days old

Baby Golden Greek tortoise. Just perfect!

Golden Greek tortoise hatchlings, only a few days old

Golden Greek tortoise hatchlings. In addition to the lovely coloring, they have the prettiest little faces. :O)

Color & pattern

Native habitat

Size

Male vs female

Activity

Personality

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