Popular Pet Tortoises
Golden Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca terrestris)
This "Popular Tortoises" section is a small part of the StarTortoises.net website. It's only a brief introduction to common tortoises species to those who are new to tortoise keeping.
Be sure to check the main site for info on Star tortoises, Angulate tortoises, and multiple pages on tortoise care.
Before obtaining any pet tortoises, do research the species thoroughly. Find out how large they get, what kind of diet they need, and what the care and housing requirements are. Tortoises can live a very long time! With good care, they will be your friends for life!
Ideally, you want to choose a species that fits your lifestyle, available space, and climate the best. It's much easier to take care of tortoises if your climate works with you, not against you. For example, does the tortoise come from a dry, hot area or a humid one? Does it match your area?
Here are some of the most popular pet tortoises that are available as captive breds in the US. If you are looking for a pet, always buy a captive bred tortoise! In general, they are healthier, hardier, used to being handled, and adjusted to living in captive conditions. Or, adopt a rescue tortoise.
What is a tortoise?
The definition of the word tortoise varies from country to country. In general, it refers to a turtle that is herbivorous (feeds on plants) and terrestrial (lives on land). More strictly, the term tortoise applies only to the true tortoises, members of the family Testudinidae.
Popular pet tortoises
photo by kepeter (mf)
Sulcatas aka African Spurred tortoises (Centrochelys [Geochelone] sulcata) are big, active, and very strong tortoises. They like to dig and they can grow HUGE. Over 175+ lbs!
2.) Greek tortoises
photo by mirtol
My first tortoise as a kid was a Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca). Greek tortoises, especially Ibera Greeks, are great beginner tortoises.
3.) Hermann's tortoises
photo by cristianocani (cc)
Along with the Ibera Greeks, Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni) are one of the best pet tortoises for beginner keepers.
4.) Leopard tortoises
Leopard Tortoise in Africa, photo by Mister-E (cc)
Leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys [Geochelone] pardalis are large, beautiful tortoises from Africa.
5.) Redfoot tortoises
photo by Sarah & Iain (cc)
Redfoot tortoises (Geochelone carbonaria) come from South America. They are very personable, but need high humidity conditions.
6.) Russian tortoises
photo by bosela (mf)
Russians (Testudo horsfieldii) are active little tortoises with entertaining personalities. Like the Sulcatas, they are excellent burrow diggers!
The Box Turtles!
photo by Mary R. Vogt (mf)
Box turtles are NOT tortoises, i.e., members of the family Testudinidae, but they are often included with tortoises because their care is quite similar. They are fun little turtles.
- San Diego Zoo - Turtle, tortoise, and terrapin: What's the difference?