Also known as Klienmann’s tortoise or Leith’s tortoise, the Egyptian tortoise are an endangered species of neck hiding tortoise. They are commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere and are one of the smallest species of its kind in the world. Because of its small size they are loved for keeping as pets. Females are bigger than the males. A fully grown Egyptian male would be around 4 inches long and weigh around 105 grams, whereas a fully grown female grows up to 5 inches in length and weighs about 400 grams. Besides being small in size, the most distinctive features are two triangle shaped markings on the bottom part of its shell that tend to become more prominent with age.
They come from very severe habitats where rainfalls are recorded at only 2-4 inches annually. Their shell colors are normally anywhere from ivory to pale gold or dull yellow. This color helps them to adjust with the sunlight, helping them to survive in the desert.
They might come from harsh surroundings but they are easily adapted to households and make cute and lovely pets.
They normally tend to become herbivores as they feed on grass, desert plants and fruits. They are active if the climate is warm and tend to be calm and reserved if the temperatures are at its extremes. So you might find your tortoise more active during midday in the winter and during summer they would be active in the mornings and evenings. They prefer to spend the rest of their day hiding in their burrows or among bushes.
A small hatchling can be kept in a plastic shoebox or a sweater. You can substitute with cloth or paper towels or use indoor/outdoor carpeting. A small lid can be used as its water bowl and they should be soaked in water every day.
An exact temperature and UV lighting need to be given to a baby tortoise so that they do not get dehydrated and grow up healthy. A UV fluorescent light and a glowing lamp for heat can be used. The temperature of 75 or 80 degrees should be maintained for babies.
Their diet should include leafy greens like dandelion and plantain greens. It is not necessary that you feed them every day but if you are giving them a balanced diet, overfeeding should not be much of a concern. Fruits like bananas, pears or apples can be given once a week.
Take care while selecting their greens; oxalic acid high greens like chives, parsley, rhubarb and spinach are dangerous for Egyptian tortoises. It might lead to kidney or bladder stones in the tortoise.
The Egyptian variety do not grow too big so if they are taken outdoors make sure you do it under supervision as there might be a concern with predators.