Western Hermann’s Tortoise,  Also known as “The Italian Tortoise”, this is the nominate subspecies of and has not yet elevated to full species level even though efforts have already been made (Eurotestudo hermanni, 2006). It is the rarest form of the three currently recognized subspecies, especially in USA collections. Today it is found in the south of France, including the island of Corsica, the Balearic Islands (Spain), south and central Italy and the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Known for its bright coloration and sharp contrasts, the western Hermann’s tortoise is typically a small, attractive animal with a rich, golden yellow shell. There is much variation with this subspecies as with any other Mediterranean tortoise, including a diversity of colors, sizes and other external features even within a specific locality. The following is a list of the key characteristics and widely accepted traits typically found in these animals:

  • A smaller size of 5 to 6″ for females and 4 to 5″ for males (very large examples exist)

  • A carapace with the highest point usually situated toward the center or front

  • A divided supracaudal shield

  • The usual presence of inguinal scutes on both sides of the bridge

  • A narrow and sleek shaped head with regular contours

  • A rounder overall appearance with minimal flaring at the back

  • The pectoral scute seam on the plastron is shorter than that of the femoral

  • A vibrant, rich, yellow or golden ground color on the carapace and plastron

  • Well defined and sharply contrasting black markings on the carapace

  • A visible “key hole” or “mushroom cloud” symbol on the fifth vertebral scute

  • Two longitudinal, continuous, jet black bands, running parallel on the plastron, along the mid-line or suture.

  • Gular scutes are either free of any black pigment or have markings separated from the general black bands in the form of small spots/patches

  • Anal scutes accompanied by black pigment sometimes separated from the general black bands

  • Skin and nail color typically light or yellow to gray 


Hatchling, Well Started Baby, Yearling, Juvenile, Young Adult


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