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Hermann tortoises are considered to be small to medium-sized and make cute pets.
As such, you may be considering getting one, but you may need to know how big they actually get and what other factors you may need to consider. Let’s discuss this.
There are 3 subspecies of Hermann tortoises, and they vary in size. Females are 12% larger than males on average. Western Hermann tortoises are between 5.5 and 9 inches. Eastern Hermann tortoises are between 9 and 12 inches, while Dalmation range from 4.5 to 6 inches.
Read on to figure out what the different subspecies of Hermann tortoises are and how they differ from each other.
Also, understand and determine what you would need to consider if you are looking to get one as a pet.
How Big Do Hermann Tortoises Get?
The Hermann tortoise is different from other species in that it can be classified into two main subspecies.
This simply means that there are two “versions” of the tortoise, with one subspecies growing to a different (larger) size than the other.
Both subspecies are native to certain parts of Europe, with the first being classified as “Testudo Hermanni Boettgeri” (the Eastern subspecies) and then the “Testudo Hermanni Hermanni” (the Western species).
In terms of the sizes of each species, consideration has to be taken that sexual dimorphism is apparent. This means that the females are, on average, approximately 12% larger than males in both subspecies.
The Western Hermann tortoise is the smaller of the subspecies and is a “medium-sized” tortoise.
On average, adult males will grow to approximately 7 inches in length. However, some males can be as small as 5.5 inches as an adult. Females will grow ever so slightly larger, getting to 8 or 9 inches.
Considering the Eastern subspecies (the larger of the two), it is not uncommon for females to reach 12 inches in length as fully grown adults, with the average being 10 inches.
Accounting for sexual dimorphism (females being 12% larger than males), male adult Eastern Hermann tortoises reach approximately 9 inches in length as an adult.
A third subspecies of the Hermann tortoise is known as “Testudo Hermanni Hercegovinensis.”.
More commonly known as the Dalmation Hermann tortoise, experts and scientists have categorized this subspecies to be a locale (geographical variant) of the Eastern subspecies.
As such, they are regarded as one and the same.
However, the Dalmation Herman tortoise is considered by many to be the smallest “subspecies,” with adult males reaching no more than 4.5 inches on average and adult females rarely exceeding 6 inches in length.
If you are wondering how to tell the difference between the three subspecies because you are unsure which you will prefer as a pet, then take a look at the video below.
How Fast Do Hermann Tortoises Grow?
There is no hard-and-fast rule to determine the correct growth rate of a Hermann tortoise, although their growth is somewhat slower than other similar species of tortoises when compared.
The reasoning behind why their growth rate can’t really be determined is due to the fact that these tortoises are a small to medium species, and adulthood is only reached after many years (which will be discussed in the next section).
Thus the increments in growth are so small over such an expansive time frame that it is too difficult to determine.
For example, some owners have hatchlings turn 1 and grow from 1.5 (at birth) to 2.5 inches. Others have a 4-month-old hatchling that is 2 inches but was 1.5 inches at birth.
What Age Is A Hermann Tortoise Fully Grown?
Growth is extremely slow for all “three” subspecies of the Herman tortoise.
It will take approximately a decade (10 years) for them to reach their full size as an adult. Consider that this goes for both the male and female.
However, considering that these species are much larger, the perception of growth for Hermann tortoises due to their small size is considered long.
Hermann Tortoise Size By Age Chart
|Eastern Hermann Tortoise Age||Size (inches)||Weight (grams)|
|Eastern Hermann Tortoise Hatchling||1.5 inches||10 to 12 grams|
|Eastern Hermann Yearling (1 to 2 years)||2.25 to 2.5 inches||Approximately 40 grams|
|Eastern Hermann Tortoise adult (10 years)||9 to 12 inches depending if it is male or female||Between 850 to 1,100 grams|
|Western Hermann Tortoise Age||Size (inches)||Weight (grams)|
|Western Hermann Tortoise Hatchling||1.5 inches||About 15 grams|
|Western Hermann Tortoise Yearling (1 to 2 years)||2.25 to 2.5 inches||About 40 grams|
|Western Hermann Tortoise (10 years)||5.5 to 9 inches depending if it is male or female||7 to 9 pounds (3,000 to 4,000 grams)|
|Dalmation Hermann Tortoise Age||Size (inches)||Weight (grams)|
|Dalmation Hermann Tortoise Hatchling||About 1 inch||About 15 grams|
|Dalmation Hermann Tortoise Yearling (1 to 2 years)||Approximately 2.5 inches||About 40 grams|
|Dalmation Hermann Tortoise Adult (10 years)||4.5 to 6 inches depending if its male or female||350 to 1,000 grams|
The Size Difference Between Male and Female Hermann Tortoises
As stated, the females in terms of all subspecies of the Hermann tortoise (Eastern, Western, and Dalmation) will be, in general, and, on average, about 12% large than males. This is due to sexual dimorphism.
Eastern Hermann tortoise females can cap out at 12 inches in length while their Western counterparts only reach 9 inches.
Dalmation Hermann females rarely exceed 6 inches.
Conversely, Eastern males only reach 9 inches, while their Western cousins will typically reach 7 inches.
In terms of Dalmation Hermann males, their growth rarely (if ever) exceeds 4.5 inches.
In terms of evolution, female tortoises are sometimes larger than males due to the necessity of them needing to carry their offspring during birth.
Additionally, this is compounded by them needing to protect their young such as in the case of the Russian tortoise species.
Factors That Influence A Hermann Tortoise’s Size & Growth
Even though the various sizes of all three species of Herman tortoises were covered, consideration has to be taken into account that various factors (which we will now discuss) will influence their health and growth.
If you plan on keeping your Hermann tortoise healthy and growing to its full potential (for all subspecies), then these factors should be carefully considered.
Diet And Nutrition
It would help to understand that your Herman tortoise (no matter the subspecies) is almost completely herbivorous. Although, they have also been known to eat worms.
Being a herbivore means their diet will be low protein, high fiber, and high calcium. As such, they typically like to eat herbaceous and succulent plants that include:
Commercial tortoise food can be fed to your Herman tortoise, but this should only make up about 50% of its daily food requirements.
Expert Tip: It would help if you supplemented your Hermann tortoise with calcium powder along with their food approximately 2 to 3 times a week.
- Free of impurities such as Oyster Shell Calcium
- Great value for the amount of calcium you're receiving
- Free of impurities such as Oyster Shell Calcium
Gender will be the determining factor when it comes to how big your Hermann tortoise will be.
As stated, the female Hermann tortoise for all subspecies will be 12% larger in most circumstances, so if you are looking for a larger tortoise of about 12 inches, then an Eastern female would be preferable.
However, if you are looking for a small and cute tortoise, a male Dalmatian Hermann tortoise would be the most applicable.
As such, you should consider gender and the appropriate subspecies depending on your taste.
Genetics in terms of egg size and then temperature during incubation may play a role in determining how big your Hermann tortoise may get.
In some cases, larger tortoise eggs produce larger tortoises, but this is not always the case.
However, a consistent incubation temperature is more relevant in this situation as a temperature that fluctuates along with humidity may cause the embryo not to develop properly.
However, you can’t account for this when you are purchasing a pet tortoise from a store.
Hermann tortoises as well as some other species of tortoises (like the Russian tortoise), will, in fact, hibernate.
Depending on the tortoise and the conditions, you can expect your Hermann tortoise to hibernate for several weeks when conditions are not ideal, or it is during wintertime.
In some rare situations, Hermann tortoises have been known to hibernate for several months of the year.
Consider that hibernation is a state in which the metabolic rate, along with heart rate, and activity, dramatically slow down.
As such, in these “dormant” periods, your Hermann tortoise will not eat and appear to be “sleeping” and will typically not grow.
If it does, the amounts will be minimal. This is because all the conserved energy your tortoise utilizes is being used for sustenance and not growth throughout this long period.
Hermann tortoises are a species that is prone to actively basking in hot climates, and thus, they will tend to receive high amounts of sunlight (UVB radiation).
This is essential for their health and well-being and effectively helps them to grow to their full potential and stay strong.
As such, your Enclosure (if it is indoors) should strive to provide as much UVB radiation as needed.
A fluorescent UVB tube of 10.0 (10%) should be used in conjunction with a reflector so that no UVB rays are wasted.
Expert tip: If you plan on keeping your Hermann tortoise outdoors, then the sun will provide all UVB radiation, and no lighting is necessary.
The natural habitat for all species of the Hermann tortoise is Mediterranean evergreen, in addition to the oak forest that includes vegetation such as herbaceous scrub.
Consider that your indoor Enclosure or outside habitat should reflect this.
Substrate is the flooring that you will lay down at the bottom of your tortoise’s Enclosure, and it will provide a suitable surface to walk on and will allow your Hermann tortoise to dig and burrow.
Hermann hatchlings require 85% humidity to stay healthy, and adults need less at 60%.
This means if you live in a region that is dry, a humidifier is a must-have and not a luxury. Consider that this will apply indoors.
Health will be your primary concern when trying to keep your Herman tortoise growing to its full potential.
If you consider the factors discussed above and take them seriously, your tortoise should stay healthy and grow as large as possible, staying within its healthy bounds.
Besides taking into account all the elements in trying to keep it healthy, you must understand that your tortoise, like any other pet, will need to go for a checkup regularly and be taken to a vet.
This should be done a handful of times a year to ensure they are growing at a healthy pace and, if need be, get medication for them.
Tip: Consider taking your tortoise to a specialized vet that deals in exotics. It may cost a bit extra, but they will be more knowledgeable about any conditions or illnesses your Hermann tortoise may have.
How Much Space Do Hermann Tortoises Need?
As with any tortoise, the larger the space (Enclosure) they have, the better it is for their health and well-being.
Due to the fact that they are smaller than other tortoise species, their enclosures do not have to be that large.
However, a minimum enclosure of 4 X 4 feet is the recommended size to adequately house an adult. Conder that this does not need to be the case when they are hatchlings.
As stated, the minimum requirements for your Hermann tortoise should be considered to be 4 X 4 feet in all situations.
Indoor enclosures should be this size in all possible situations; however, if you have a male that is quite substantially smaller or one of the smaller subspecies, then a 2 X 4 enclosure will suffice.
Take note that your indoor Enclosure should be at least 18 inches high.
Check out this Great Size Tortoise Enclosure on
- Easy to clean
- Safe and sturdy
Outdoor enclosures should meet the same specifications as their indoor counterparts; however, they should also have a shaded-off section that will proved protection from the sun.
Herman tortoises enjoy digging, so your outdoor Enclosure should extend into the ground at least a couple of inches, prohibiting them from burrowing too deep and escaping.
How Can I Make My Hermann Tortoise Grow Faster?
Tortoises grow at a healthy pace on average, even if there is no specific growth rate to which they stick.
Consider that you should only try and keep them healthy by considering the factors we already discussed.
Your Herman tortoise will grow at its fastest pace if this is done.
Moreover, taking measures that will cause your tortoise to grow at an accelerated rate is not healthy.
In fact, overfeeding your Hermann tortoise may cause health issues like renal disease, pyramiding, obesity, and more.
How Can I Tell If My Hermann Tortoise Is Overweight Or Underweight?
To work out if your Hermann tortoise is overweight or underweight, you will need to calculate its BMI.
This process is similar to that of humans, and the calculation (formula) to do this is to take your tortoise’s current weight and divide it by the target weight.
The result will be measured against a chart that can be found here, and if the resulting sum of the calculation is above or below a specific number on the chart, your tortoise will be considered to be over or underweight.
Going into detail on how to calculate your tortoise’s BMI is a little beyond this article’s scope.
However, using the provided link above will give you a detailed description of how this is done.