Although choosing a Hermann tortoise may seem like an easy choice, choosing the right one will make a huge difference in the health and longevity of your tortoise. This smaller species typically only reaches 7 inches (19 centimeters) and can live for about 80 years. They are friendly and easygoing, and have pretty shells which are a mixture of bright yellow and dark brown. Because they come from a hot and dry Mediterranean climate, you should not even consider having one if you do not live in a hot and dry region.
When choosing your pet Hermann tortoise, you need to be certain that you are purchasing from a good local breeder. Tortoises that have been imported may have been wild-caught, which means it is illegal to keep them as pets. It also means that they have endured a long and stressful journey, so you will not be getting a very healthy tortoise if it has been imported from very far. You can test the quality of the breeder by finding out what the suggest for housing and feeding Herman tortoises.
If they suggest using any commercial pellet food that is made for tortoises, they do not know very much about this species of tortoise. Because commercial pellet food is meant to cover the dietary needs of all the tortoise species, it is actually harmful to the Hermann tortoise. Pellet food does not have enough fiber and calcium and contains too much protein for them. The extra protein will cause bone deformities and shell abnormalities for Hermann tortoises. In the wild, Hermann tortoises are herbivores, and that strict plant diet needs to be given to them for optimum health.
The other thing to listen for is being told that these tortoises can be kept indoors. Although this is true with hatchlings, older tortoises need to be kept outside in an area that offers at least 100 square feet (10 square meters) of space. Part of the false advice given by these bad breeders is that you can keep the cage heated with an electric heat rock. These heat rocks warm from the bottom, the part of the tortoise that is the most sensitive. These heat rocks are not only a fire hazard, but can also burn your tortoise’s delicate underneath.
Because there are so many people out there that are only breeding and selling Hermann tortoises for profit, it’s important to make sure that you are getting your new pet from someone who really cares about the species and knows how to properly care for one.