North Africa, southern Europe, and southwest Asia
Head and body length averages 12-17 cm
Averages 580-1,000 g
Uknown; populations declining
Forests, dry open steppes and barren hillsides up to 1,700 m
North Africa Southern Europe Middle East
House proud? The Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise has a right to be. Thanks to its gorgeously patterned, always-there shelter—and its ability to take in almost all moisture it needs from vegetation—it is able to weather tough semi-arid environments. This particular mobile is largely immobile much of the year. In the hot summer months the tortoise aestivates, going into a period of inactivity and lowered metabolism. In the northern part of its range it also hibernates the winter away. But being a homebody is getting more dangerous all the time as it faces habitat destruction and the threat of capture for the pet trade.