The Greek tortoise, known by it’s less interesting name, the common tortoise. Sadly, becoming not so common anymore. Sadly, they are vulnerable to extinction. Their popularity as pets has led to unsustainable removal from their native habitats in Morocco and elsewhere.
The common or Greek tortoise can live up to 200 years, though 125 is more common. That alone should make them a poor choice for a pet. It’s illegal, but, that doesn’t always mean much.
These animals are recognizable due to the large scales on their front legs, an oblong rectangular shell and no tail spur. Our little friend here was labeled by Jean-Charles Chenu (1808-1879) so we don’t have to worry about confusing him for a Hermann’s tortoise. He was part of Chenu’s Encyclopedie d’histoire naturelle, Reptiles et Poissons. They enjoy dandelion leaves and other leafy plants. I’m not sure what our friend here is enjoying but, clearly it’s something he likes.
As is sometimes the case with vintage engravings, there’s more detail than is shown even with photographs. The spiral ridges within each section of his shell are less noticeable when seen in full color. We also clearly see the larger scales on his front legs. Such a fine specimen.
Want to invite a Greek tortoise into your life? Please stick to photographs and vintage illustrations like this one. Downloading is free. Do grab the biggest version. Just click on the one shown below to access it.
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.