Status Critically Endangered
Size 8-12cm long. Females tend to be bigger than males.
Weight 160-350g. Females tend to be heavier than males.
Gestation 12-16 weeks
Life span Around 50 years
Not a lot is known about the diet of Egyptian tortoises in the wild, but it is thought that they eat seasonal plants such as leaves, grasses, fruits, flowers and even cacti.
At Marwell we feed our Egyptian tortoises grass, weeds and flowers which we cultivate ourselves.
These animals live in the desert, but are also found in semi-desert areas, dry woodlands and brushy areas of scrub.
Once found across Egypt, Libya and Israel, Egyptian tortoises are now mainly found in two regions in Libya (Tripolitania and Cyrenaica).
Breeding season is in early spring - courtship involves the male head butting and crashing into the female before mating. During mating the males are known to make distinctive loud purring-type sounds, which are different to other closely related tortoise species.
The female will dig out a nest in sandy ground, usually underneath a bush or a burrow, and will lay up to 5 eggs. The eggs hatch in summer or early autumn and the young tortoises will only eat a small amount of food, preferring to rest in the shade instead. Egyptian tortoises are mature by around 5 years old.
Brown-necked ravens feed on both young and adult tortoises.
To stay safe, Egyptian tortoises will use their colourings to stay hidden underneath bushes and vegetation, especially during the hottest times of the day.
The Egyptian tortoise faces a very uncertain future as it is threatened by loss of habitat through farming and human encroachment. These animals are also being illegally trapped to be sold through the pet trade.
Egyptian tortoises are protected by law in Egypt but not in Libya, which makes monitoring their numbers and stopping the trade in this species difficult. If the trade of Egyptian tortoises is not monitored or banned and their habitat is not protected, sadly there is a real possibility that they may face extinction in the next 20 years.
Egyptian Tortoise is one of the world's smallest and most endangered species of tortoise.
Being so small means that the Egyptian tortoise can warm up very quickly when outside in the sun and their pale yellow colouring slows down the amount of heat that can be absorbed from the sun.
Very little is known about the Egyptian tortoise, it is still being researched in captivity and in the wild.
I love this Zoo as it has a good range of animals kept in good spaces and so obviously cared for. Its a bit of a walk up hill at one point but not steep. You can always take the train around and get off where you want. A good day… Read full reviewRoger G, 7th January 2016