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T. graeca terrestris / T. g. flowerii Gallery ("Golden Greeks")

This gallery is presented to show the diversity of color presented in the tortoises known as "Golden Greeks" in the trade. Every photograph presented here is of a different animal. It would be more accurate to call them  either Testudo graeca terrestris / Testudo graeca flowerii  or Middle East "graeca" and drop both the "Golden" and "Greek" from the common name as it is misleading and inappropriate in referring to these animals.  

What has come to light since they first appeared in the international trade is that there is an established business of selling tortoises from the Middle East.   What has been determined is that  the "Goldens" originate from Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan. Most of them are sold in Europe  as "Farm Bred Lebanon" or imported into the United States as "Captive Bred".  No "Farm" whatsoever could produce these numbers and also specimens older than 40 years.  Other "Goldens" on paper originate  from "Farm Bred USSR and Farm Bred Slovenia", both countries without any T. graeca populations at all.   

To the best of our knowledge what is being sold as Golden Greeks are Testudo g. terrestris and Testudo g.  flowerii, mixed by collection, smaller ones with the blotches being tentatively identified as T. g. flowerii, larger ones, with the much more rounded and domed carapace being T. g. terrestris (Syria & Jordan). The rather pink specimens are Jordanian, where the sand color is rather reddish.  T. g. terrestris seems to adopt much more than other T. graeca  to the soil of their habitat, in some locations in Syria nearly black specimens exist (black Basalt is the soil there),  these have also appeared in the trade,  while in the yellow desert of Syria and in the Negev of Israel, the "Goldens" exist. 

Care Sheets and related articles:

“Golden Greek” Tortoise Care - (Testudo graeca terrestris)  - Darrell Senneke

What exactly is a Golden Greek? - Darrell Senneke and Torston Blanck

Differentiating Male and Female Testudo graeca (Greek tortoise) - Darrell Senneke

Video - Breeding T. graeca (Golden)


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(Click the thumbnail photo to see the full size picture)

Testudo graeca terrestris

"Golden" Greek (hatchling - 3 months)


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