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Habitat Gallery: Testudo (graeca) ibera in Turkey

By A. C. Highfield

These images show the actual habitats of Testudo (graeca) ibera in Turkey. This particular sequence was taken in spring, when the annual vegetation cycle was at its peak. It should be noted that the tortoises shown in mountainous habitats tend to be more melanistic than those in coastal, lower altitude (and hence, warmer) habitats.  Seeing these habitats and the type of vegetation tortoises inhabit in the wild should be helpful when designing captive environments.

Typical mountainous habitat

Tortoise seeking cover under shrub

Thorny oak shrubs are common hiding places

Tortoise using a rock to attain good basking position! This is especially important in mountainous habitats which are considerably cooler than lower altitude habitats. Note also how melanistic this female is.

Tortoise grazing on local vegetation

A tortoise in an overnight scrape under a very large rock

A female excavating a nest on a well vegetated rocky slope (altitude 1500m)

Emerging from overnight scrape at approximately 9.30 am

Typical spring vegetation

Tortoise found at historic site

A young, less melanistic example from lower altitudes

All images (c) 2008 A. C. Highfield