I have to admit I am a bit of a Fan of Tortoises having had a free range one for many years as part of the family. Torty, as he is called was my wife's pet when she was young and he passed to us once we had a garden large enough for his free range needs.

So you may ask what has this got to do with Menorca? The island has large indigenous population of Spur-Thighed variety living wild in Menorca.

The species of Mediterranean tortoise most commonly imported into Britain was the Spur-thighed (Testudo graeca) and the Hermann's (Testudo hermanni). The former is further divided into sub-species effectively the Europe and the North African.

These reptiles are in an active state of evolution and not fully understood. Like most reptiles, are ectothermic and rely on an external heat source (the sun) to raise their body temperature sufficiently for them to be alert, feed and digest their food. They are inactive in cold weather and thus they do not live naturally far north of the south of France. The Mediteranean species exists in the south of France, on the coastlines of Italy and the former Yugoslavia, and on islands in the Mediterranean. The Spur-thighed species have a spur on either side of the tail, whereas the Hermann's have a single horny claw at the tip of the tail.

In 1984 it was agreed with the EEC Council to treat three species of Mediterranean tortoises (the Spur-thighed, Hermann's and Marginated from Greece) according to Appendix 1 of the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

These reptiles may now be a rare site in the UK but you might well see one in Menorca!

Leave the Mediteranean Tortoises