Testudo hermanni hermanni
Head and body length: 11.9 - 18.3 cm
365 - 1,350 kg
Unknown, population declining
Densely wooded hillsides and gentle slopes with coarse vegetation in coastal areas of Southern France, Italy and Spain.
Spain France Balearic Islands, Spain Corsica, France Sardinia, Italy Sicily, Italy
Hot or not? It's a question of considerable importance to the western Hermann's tortoise, as heat plays a key role in its life. For eight to ten days after emerging from hibernation, the tortoise ventures out during the warmest parts of the day to bask; this speeds its metabolism and inspires it to greater activity. Heat also determines the number of males or females that hatch, with hotter nest temperatures resulting in more females. When the mercury rises too high, however, it can kill the mother as she lays eggs. With human encroachment threatening to upset the delicate balance in which it lives, the tortoise is now really feeling the heat.