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Testudo graeca ibera

Testudo graeca ibera is hands down the most encountered Greek tortoise in the hobby. Their wide range across Europe and part of Asia has resulted in various forms appearing in the pet trade world wide. Normally referred to as the "Ibera Greek", this tortoise's real name is the Asia Minor tortoise. This is typically the largest of the T. graeca species group however, small, medium and large examples exist. In fact, so do giants. There is also a rather wide variety of markings found within this subspecies. Testudo graeca ibera are quite different from other graeca and throughout history they have been considered a full species several times. 

Generally speaking, Testudo graeca ibera can be considered a medium to large sized tortoise. Those in the 6 to 7" range can actually be viewed as on the smaller size especially if they are from the more northern parts of their natural distribution where they are usually larger. In some cases the male is the smaller sex but many males are close to the same size as females and even bigger than them at times. 

There is not always a distinct difference in the flaring of the marginal scutes when comparing the sexes. While many males are rather trapezoid in shape caused by noticeable marginal flaring, others may be more oval. Some tortoises also exhibit a higher content of black pigment which is common for more northernly populations. 


Testudo graeca ibera is marked by featuring some absolutely enormous specimens throughout its range. In the past it had been stated that the largest ones hail from Bulgaria but as we can see with some of the monster specimens of Turkish decent on this page, they can be found elsewhere. These giants occur across the Balkans and are typically found in northern portions rather than southern. 

Taking a closer look at these jumbo T. g. ibera we can see just how impressive their dimensions and weight really are. Tortoises reaching a foot in length are not unheard of and the female seen in the far right is nearing eleven inches with a weight of more than 3,300 grams. These sizes are easily comparable to species more traditionally associated with them such as the red foot tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) and a nearby cousin of T. g. ibera, the Marginated tortoise (Testudo marginata).


Like all Testudo, variation prevails with the Asia Minor tortoise. Most times color is dependent on a population's geographical location. The darker colored animals originate from the north where it is cooler and the lighter come from the south where it is warmer. This method of being able to absorb the sun's heat by being dark and being able to reflect it by being light is one of nature's many ways of allowing animals to adapt to their environment. 

Weights of 1,800 grams or more for females is rather common but males will come close at nearly 1,600 grams and of course, they can be bigger. Testudo graeca ibera is generally all over the place with size, weight and coloration. Perhaps they should be broken down concerning their taxonomy. 


One specific locality of Testudo graeca ibera worth mentioning are the animals hailing from the eastern Anatolian region of Turkey. These tortoises reach impressive dimensions with some reports suggesting specimens attaining weights of 5kg. Hatchlings do not appear to look much different than other ibera, but juveniles and sub adults in our care are a beautiful greenish-yellow with varying amounts of black blotching on the carapace and plastron. The head is usually predominantly yellow colored and large. The shell is widened, massive and broad. As adults, they fade, with some becoming an olive color overall. 


Hatchling Testudo graeca ibera are often less variable than the adults are. Most start off with the color scheme shown to the right. Their neonate appearance also makes it difficult for less experienced individuals to differentiate them from baby Hermann's tortoises particularly Testudo hermanni boettgeri. Darker ibera offspring are not necessarily a rarity but sometimes the blackest adults will yield the lightest colored hatchlings. 

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