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Caring for a Hermann’s Tortoise – Frankie


Hermann’s Tortoise – Frankie

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This is a very random post, I know. Not everyone owns a Hermann’s Tortoise…
But I really want to share what I have learnt so far, and so I can show you the cute pictures!

Please remember throughout this post, I am NOT an expert in looking after reptiles, I am a first timer here.
The tortoise life is a lot more stressful and harder than I thought it would be, so I’m shedding some light on the idea for other newbie owners.

Meet Frankie The Hermann’s Tortoise

If you follow me on Instagram you will have already seen him, if you don’t follow me on Instagram, the follow me just for the tortoise updates! – Follow Me Here

Baby Frankie

He is a Hermann’s tortoise or properly known as ‘Testudo Hermanni’ and on his certificate he has come from Serbia.

I have no idea of his actual date of birth, but he is just over one years old.

So, now you have met him, here is some things you should know.

Random Facts About Hermann’s Tortoises

  • They can live up to 80 years.


  • Hermann’s tortoises make good pets because they don’t grow too big and are not too bothered about humans.
    (Don’t tend to bite, but some do think your fingers and toes are food!)


  • No, they cannot come out of their shell.


  • The difference between turtles and tortoises is that turtles live in water, and tortoises cannot swim. At all.


  • They would rather live alone. Two males will not get on, if it’s a male and a female… He won’t leave her alone.


  • Their spine is right under their shell, so they do have some feeling there.


  • They poop once or twice a day.


  • Tortoises put themselves to bed at night and will sleep until the morning.


  • They have natural oils just like we do. So, you don’t need to bath them every day.


Do’s and Don’ts For Tortoise Owners


  • Provide microclimates for your tortoise.
    – Yes, it needs to be warm in there, but there should be a cold end for the tortoise to regulate their temperature.


  • Give them hiding places.


  • Have enough substrate for them to burrow down.
    They like to dig and doing this also thermoregulates their body temperature.


  • Only feed weeds, Mazuri, sometimes pellets, and some other greens.
    The tortoise table app is great for identifying what you should and shouldn’t feed.


  • Have a source of UV – Tortoises need this to help them overall, it’s basically like batteries for tortoises. Without UV rays, their shell will not form properly, and overall, they will not be healthy.


  • Keep the humidity up, this helps keep the tortoises hydrated and happy.


  • Give them a big enough space.
    In the wild tortoises have all the space they want. Don’t put them in a tiny tortoise table, the bigger the better!
    You can search on google and Pinterest for good ideas, or join the Facebook pages, they have lots of information too.


  • Turn off the heat at night time, they wouldn’t have consistent temperatures in the wild.



  • DON’T Feed fruits and vegetables! There are some that you can feed sparingly, but don’t be giving your tort strawberries every day, melon, oranges etc…


  • Put them in a small space.
    They will just be stressed, scratching in the corners, and very grumpy.


  • Just put on a normal lamp. They need a source of heat and UVB.


  • Feed just pellet food. It’s pretty much like McDonalds to them. Not good.


  • Put the tortoise on dry dusty substrate. It can get in their eyes and cause respiratory problems. The best substrates to use are; Topsoil, Coco Coir, Orchid Bark.


  • Have them around other animals. You just can’t take the risk.


  • Don’t rub oil on their shells. They have pores and they will absorb it.


  • They don’t need to bath every day. In fact, it’s unnatural and bad for them. Bath twice a week, or even less.


My Experience

I was so excited to bring him home because I was told they are so easy to care for, they don’t need a lot etc…

Well, I am either being very obsessive in making sure my setup is perfect, or everyone else is very chilled out.

When I bought him home, he came with a tiny table that I am very annoyed about because I paid for it, and only had him in there for a week. (It’s more suitable for tiny baby tortoises, so if you need one, I’m selling it!)

When  first got him, he came with a sandy substrate which I soon learnt was not good.

I had NO idea what to feed him. I knew he needed weeds, but I was under the impression that they could have fruits, veggies, all sorts! Not the case.

Then the whole hibernation thing came along. Since its nearly winter, a lot of tortoise hibernate. Or you can choose not to. I chose to overwinter mine.

But one day he did not move at all and I thought that’s it. He’s hibernating and he’s not ready!

Turns out he had eaten one of my hairs, had a slight tummy ache and was trying to poop it out…

Now that I think about it, all my worries are a waste of time because it’s all a learning process and there are lots of places to find information online.

Thinking About Getting a Tortoise?

So, if you are also struggling, stressing, and want the best. Go and follow some groups.

Do your research into what species of tortoise you want, think about how big they can grow and what climates they live in.

Don’t listen to absolutely everything, lots of people are negative about every little aspect, and nothing can be perfect!

If you are thinking about getting a Hermann’s tortoise, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Have a big space to start with.
  • Start growing your own weeds for them to eat.
  • Provide heat and UVB.
  • Fresh water every day.
  • Bath a couple times a week.
  • Keep them away from small children and animals.
  • Relax, learn, have fun.

Things You May Need – (You can find a lot in home stores/pet shops too.)

Thank you for reading, I hope it was helpful for whoever managed to stumble across this post!

If you are here because you usually read my writing posts, then check this one out… I’m going to be following this method to write a story about Frankie – How To Plan a Short Story In Four Easy Steps