Egyptian tortoise

Common Name: Egyptian tortoise

Scientific Name: Testudo kleinmanni

These tortoises have pale colouring which helps to protect them from the heat of the desert, and also means they are well camouflaged.

Male Egyptian tortoises are smaller than females but have longer tails.

Fast Facts

  • Status

    Critically Endangered

  • Size

    Shell length 14 cm

  • Gestation

    70 - 111 days

  • Young

    1-5 eggs are laid

  • Life span

    Up to 26 years

In the wild

Very little is known about the diet of Egyptian tortoises in the wild, but in captivity they are usually fed on grasses, fruit and vegetables.

Egyptian tortoises used to be found in Libya and Egypt, but they are believed to have become extinct in Egypt between the 1970s and 1990s, and are now only found in two areas of Libya. This species lives in sandy and stony desert and semi-desert habitats.

These tortoises create a nest by digging a hole 3 to 5cm down into sandy earth. They then lay between one and five eggs in the nest. Little is known about the breeding of these tortoises in the wild, but it is thought that the eggs can take between 70 and 111 days to hatch. When the young emerge, they are between 28 and 30 mm long, and weigh 4 to 5 g.

Egyptian tortoises have been, and still are being badly affected by habitat loss and capture for the pet trade. These tortoises are included in CITES Appendix I, which means that international trade in this species or its parts is illegal.  They are a protected species in Egypt, but not in Libya. There are protected areas for this tortoise in Egypt, but unfortunately the species is currently extinct in the country.

Meet Marwell's Egyptian tortoise

Meet Marwell's Egyptian tortoise

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