Testudo kleinmanni

Image Credit : Turtle Conservancy

Testudo kleinmanni is the smallest tortoise in the Northern Hemisphere. Their shells have high domes, and range in color from ivory to pale gold to dark brown to pink or dull yellow. Female tortoises are larger than the males; males are more slender and have a longer tail.

The bottom of the shell is light yellow, often with two dark triangles on each abdominal scute. The tortoise’s scutes have dark sidings that fade with age. The head and limbs are a very pale ivory-yellow to yellowish-brown colour.

  • Scientific name : Testudo kleinmanni
  • Distribution : Libya (Tripolitania & Cyrenaica), Egypt (Western desert)
  • Average Size : 0.1 m (0.3 ft)
  • Life Span : 35 years or more
  • Difficulty : Advanced


Terrarium 1.5  x 0.8 x 0.6 meters (5 x 2.6 x 2 feet) for a couple (male, female) Testudo kleinmanni.  If you you want keep them in groups for each additional tortoise consider at least 0.3 meters (1 feet) expansion on the length of the enclosure. I house my juveniles in the same enclosure as adults but in plastic boxes in order keep them separately. In the plastic boxes I provide a thin layer of bark substrate, a cork hide and a humid hide with moss since babies require higher humidity.

Hide box

As with most if not all tortoise species the use of hide spots is a good method in order for them to feel secure. I use cork caves and half earthenware pot as hide spots in the enclosure. Testudo kleinmanni also burrow in the sand.


I like to use a mix of sand-loam (mixing ratio 5:1). Adult Testudo kleinmanni seem to like sand-loam mix because it’s much easier to walk on it and if they lay eggs it is easier to dig. My suggested depth is 0.1-0.15 meters (0.3-0.5 feet).

Lighting – Heating

1-2 good UV lamps like Lucky Reptile 70W Flood will provide proper lighting for your Testudo kleinmanni. I change my lamps latest after 9 – 12 months , but I have a solarmeter to check them. At summer I provide up to 13 hours light time with 23-25 °C (73-77 °F) at night and 37-40 °C (98-105 °F) during the day time. I lower the light time down to 7 hours during winter time with 12-15 °C (53-59 °F) at night and 27-30 °C (80-86 °F) during day time.


I provide daily fresh drinking water in a shallow water dish. I bathe my Testudo kleinmanni from October to May every 14 days.


I provide higher humidity (65 %) at the early morning with the use of a fogger. I keep my humidity levels around 30-40% during summer period and around 40-50% during winter period.


I feed both my adults and juveniles Testudo kleinmanni once a day in the morning. I offer to them fresh greens from October to May, dry herbs (I let them dry by the sun) at summer; no fruits, no salad except Romana. Examples of green herbs are klee, nettle, hibiscus, malva and dandelion.


I try to handle my Testudo kleinmanni as less as possible. I handle them only when I need to check their weight, for health checks and to bathe them.


I spot clean daily my enclosures from waste and old food. I change my substrate and rinse my enclosures when I switch my adults to new enclosures. I completely change the substrate for the babies’ enclosures and rinse them every 2 months.

Potential Health Problems

You need to make sure that you provide adequate UV lighting. Low UV-light will cause soft shell. Also make sure that humidity levels are correct in order to avoid humps on the shell. Both of these health issues are signs of wrong husbandry.


Testudo Kleinmanni TF

The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.