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Hermann's tortoises are small to medium sized tortoises that come from southern Europe. Young animals, and some adults, have attractive black and yellow patterned carapaces, although the brightness may fade with age to a less distinct gray, straw or yellow coloration. They have a slightly hooked upper jaw and, like other tortoises, possess no teeth, just a strong, horny beak. Their scaly limbs are greyish to brown, with some yellow markings, and the tail bears a spur (a horny spike) at the tip. Adult males have particularly long and thick tails, and a well developed spur, distinguishing them from females. The eastern subspecies Testudo hermanni boettgeri is much larger than the west, reaching sizes up to 28 cm (11 inches) in length. A specimen of this size may weigh 3-4 kg (6-9 lb). T. h. hermanni rarely grow larger than 18 cm (7.5 inches). Some adult specimens are as small as 7 cm (3 inches).
Testudo hermanni can be found throughout southern Europe. The western population (hermanni) is found in eastern Spain, southern France, the Baleares islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, south and central Italy (Tuscany). The eastern population (boettgeri) inhabits Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece, while hercegovinensis populates coasts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro. Subspecies Testudo hermanni hermanni (Spain/France/Italy) Testudo hermanni hercegovinensis (Bosnia/Croatia/Montenegro) Testudo hermanni boettgeri (Greece/Turkey)
Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is one of five tortoise species traditionally placed in the genus Testudo, which also includes the well-known Marginated tortoise (T. marginata), Greek tortoise (T. graeca), and Russian tortoise (T. horsfieldii), for example. Three subspecies are known: the Western Hermann's tortoise (T. h. hermanni), the Eastern Hermann's tortoise (T. h. boettgeri) and Dalmatian tortoise (T. h. hercegovinensis). Sometimes mentioned subspecies T. h. peleponnesica is not yet confirmed to be genetically different to T. h. boettgeri.