North Africa is home to a few distinct subspecies of Testudo graeca which are rather new to American herpetoculture at the time of writing this. For decades it was Testudo graeca ibera that ruled the Greek tortoise's presence in the United States reptile trade but in the last few years, Testudo graeca marokkensis, referred to as the "Moroccan Greek", has shown up. As usual these North African tortoises were mixed up in various shipments making it difficult to properly identify them. Luckily our specimens were not part of these mix ups and on this page you can safely and accurately view them and their typical traits.
Testudo graeca marokkensis is a medium sized tortoise with most individuals being considerably smaller than their Asia Minor cousins T. g. ibera. The adults on this page can be considered a standard size for this subspecies. Some exhibit lighter overall coloration and yellow scales or a "cap" on the top of the head, a common trait of North African graeca. The profile of the head of an adult will show the small, rounded head with relatively small eyes.
Just like the subspecies and locales belonging to Testudo hermanni, there is quite a bit of variation with those found within the Testudo graeca complex. These animals feature a more typical pattern for T. g. marokkensis in that they exhibit black blotching or radiating lines/spots like the animal first pictured on this page. The carapace is rounded or oval and only males usually have noticeable flaring of the rear marginal scutes. Note that in all of the tortoises pictured so far on this page that the first vertebral scute's edges are rounded and not perfectly straight edged. This is another common trait for North African T. graeca.
The radiating/blotching pattern of the carapace often continues to some degree on the plastron of Testudo graeca marokkensis. Some refer to this as a "burst pattern". Usually the darker the animal overall, the more of this pattern we will see on the plastron.
When comparing sexes, Males are notably smaller than females and more trapezoid in overall shape.
Females may reach weights of over 1,000 grams. Males are more in the 500 to 700 gram range. Small, medium and large examples of tortoises exist in every species on the planet. Greek tortoises are absolutely no exception.
Baby Testudo graeca marokkensis are easily distinguishable by lacking a central dark marking on each carapace scute. This is found on all other young Greek tortoises. Out of the egg, marokkensis are nearly uniform brown in coloration. As they grow, the brown darkens along the seams of the carapace scutes and central markings begin to appear. These eventually break up into the radiating lines, blotches and smudges we see on the adults