The collective name for tortoises, terrapins and turtles is chelonians as they belong to the group “Chelonia”. The description “Tortoise” is usually reserved for the varities that live on land.
Tortoises have a wide distribution throughout the warmer parts of the world but the Eurasian species are the most commonly kept as pets. Tortoises are often housed outside for part of the year when weather conditions permit but care needs to be taken that they do not get too cold as respiratory infections are all too common. Tortoises may be long lived and in some cases may exceed the humans!!
Originating from areas around the Mediterranean sea. These individuals can be spotted relatively easily as they have tubercules or so called spurs on each side of the body between the hind legs and the tail They may grow up to a foot long
Distributed through Spain, Turkey , Bulgaria and Greece and looks similar to the spur thighed but without the spurs and slightly smaller. The tail is also longer especially the males and also ends in a horny tip
The most northern distribution into the former Soviet Union , Pakistan and Iran and towards China. Never used to be widely available but has become more popular. Males have longer tails and a relatively concave base. These tortoises have very strong feet allowing them to burrow to escape the sun in the usual habitats.
Their natural habitat is further south than the european varieties and they can only be housed outside in good weather.. They are one of the biggest varities potentially growing to 16 inches
Seen ocassionally are the hingebacks which have a domed back which forms a protective flap. Shell colouration is extremely variable.These are tropical forest tortoises and have very specific requirements.