Housing

Housing basics: Use open-topped tortoise table. Glass tanks are NOT adequate at any size to house turtles/tortoise.
The housing needs of any turtle/tortoise species change as they age.

Hatchling to yearling:

This time period is very difficult and is not recommended for the novice or inexperienced keeper. Northwest Tortoise will not sell or adopt any Greek Ibera under the age of one year. For advice see the reading list/resources page.

One to five years:

The Northwest Tortoise starter enclosure is excellent for this time period. Contrary to some existing literature young turtles/tortoises CANNOT be kept the same as adults. Moisture and humidity are VITAL to healthy shell development (unhealthy shell development). The young Greek Ibera (regardless of species) need a place to bury in moist substrate. An example of correct and incorrect shell development. See the reading list/resources page for more information.

  • Substrate: provide substrate deep enough to bury completely. Use organic potting soil or topsoil without perlite or additives, coconut coir, ground sphagnum and/or leaf litter. Do not use anything that can’t pass through their system to avoid potential gut impactions. Remoisten/turn as needed.
  • Lighting/heating: UVA/UVB light is an absolute must. Avoid coiled bulbs. Mercury vapor lamps are also acceptable for use and combine heat and UVA/UVB. Additionally, a ceramic heat emitter can be used for the basking area.
  • Temperatures: Create a basking area that will maintain a temperature of 90F to 95F directly underneath. Ambient household temperature is usually adequate for the rest of the enclosure, providing it does not get below 68F.

Five years to adult:

It is not an exact science or absolute rule that shell development is complete by the age of five years. Through 20+ years of experience, however, and extensive reading this appears to be a general guideline. At this point the turtle/tortoise can be treated like an adult. Expand the size of the enclosure as much as possible. Provide lots of obstacles, plants, shade areas, places to bury, permanent watering area, and lots of opportunities to hunt their own food.

Tips:

  • Mist the indoor enclosure and the Greek Ibera daily.
  • In outdoor enclosures be sure to cap the corners to avoid escaping and cover to prevent predators from getting in. Birds, fox, raccoon’s, cats, dogs, squirrels, etc. are all potential predators.
  • Change up the surroundings monthly! Mentally stimulate your tortoise!As you get to know your tortoise you’ll find what he likes and doesn’t like. Adapt the enclosure to his needs. The enclosure should be constantly changing to accommodate the needs of your Greek Ibera.
  • Iberas will eat any broad-leafed plant put in front of them. If they can’t get to the top leaves they will mow them down. The only plants grown long term in their pen are shrubs of the evergreen variety and sages.

Enclosure ideas