Are Greek Tortoises Good Pets For Kids?

Are Greek Tortoises Good Pets For Kids?

Some people want a cat or a dog as a pet. And some love reptiles and other unique creatures that are fun to look at. Turtles and tortoises are among the most common pets, and it can be such a delight for both kids and adults to own one.

The Greek tortoise has an amiable personality that makes them pleasant companions. Greek tortoises make great pets for both children and those who are inexperienced at caring for animals.

Kids love tortoises and they’ll likely want to name them Donatello or Michelangelo!

But before you say yes to your kids, you need to understand the responsibilities of owning a Greek tortoise. Greek tortoises need long-term care and a proper enclosure to keep them happy and healthy. Because unlike any other pet, they live a long life — anywhere from 50 to 100 years!

PS! The reason why I write this article is simply that I have a greek tortoise myself. His name is Paddy and you can read more about him in this article. During a family festival, we were having a lot of kids over to our house – and I did a lot of research to see whether or not tortoises were kid-friendly. That is why I wanted to share this information in a longer article.

Are Greek Tortoises Good Pets For Kids?

Table of Contents

Fun Facts About Greek Tortoises

The Greek tortoise gets its name from the pattern on its shell. The different colored dots and unique borders resemble a classic Greek mosaic.

Their shell colors vary from dark yellow and gold to brown.

Other names for the Greek tortoise are Moorish tortoise and spur-thighed tortoise. Greek tortoises can be found in North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Southern Europe.

Greek tortoises are non-swimmers and prefer to stay on land. They are most active during the day. They can’t crawl out of their shell because it is bound to their spine and rib cage. Their hard shells are made of bones with plates called scutes, comprised of keratin, the same as is found in our hair and nails. The top part of the shell is called the carapace, and the lowest part is called the plastron. Tortoises are sensitive to pain and discomfort through their shells, so we should handle them with care. The Greek tortoise has large eyes and a flat head, strong claws and big scales on its legs.

Can I see how these animals act like in the wild?

You can. At the moment, there is only one video on Youtube capturing a greek tortoise running around in nature. But it’s four minutes long and such a joy to watch:

Greek Tortoises’ Temperament and Behaviour

An animals’ temperament is quite an important factor to determine whether or not kids could be “close” to them.

Though the Greek tortoise is friendly and easy-going, they do not like to be held. They should be picked up only when necessary, like during enclosure cleaning, and health check-ups. They will only interact when they see you with their food! Not so much of a cuddly type.

Greek tortoises are not social animals, and you should never place more than one male in the same enclosure. They need a spacious enclosure in which to exercise. Greek tortoises need to be in the sun for 2-3 hours daily, as vitamin D3 is needed for healthy shells and bones. If you have built an indoor enclosure for them, buy a UVB light and let them bask under the light for a few hours each day.

Huge differences from tortoise to tortoise

Me and my neighbor both have greek tortoises. Mine is quite aggressive (running after me, trying to bite my foot), but that is not the same for my neighbor. If you buy a pet without first meeting it and spending some time with it, you would not know if it will show this type of behavior.

As a general rule, greek tortoises are not aggressive towards humans. I guess Paddy has some sort of brain damage (I’m serious…).

Tortoise Christmas Tree
Paddy in one of his less aggressive moments: eating pellets in front of the Christmas tree!

Nourishment for Greek Tortoises

Tortoises are herbivores. A balanced diet for a Greek tortoise should include a variety of vegetables, particularly dark and leafy ones. Collard greens, fresh parsley and endive should be on their regular menu. To increase their fiber intake, add some chopped Timothy hay to their meal. If you would like to feed them fruits, make sure this doesn’t constitute more than 10 percent of their diet. Chopped berries or apples are a great option for a treat.

So Is a Greek Tortoise a Great Pet For Kids?

Here are some other vital points you need to know before deciding whether to own a Greek tortoise:

– They can grow up to 10 inches.
– They need at least 100 square feet of space.
– Owning a Greek tortoise is a long-term commitment. They live long, so if your kids have it when they are 10 years old, they probably will have it for another 50 years.
– You or your kids will need to spend at least 20-30 minutes each day changing bedding and providing fresh water.

If you think your kids are ready to carry the responsibilities and nurture them with love, you can now start doing research on where to buy Greek tortoises legally. But if you think it’s a hassle and too time-consuming, then the answer is no. Every animal is entitled to a happy and healthy life.


Though tortoises and turtles adapt to captivity, they are still wild animals. Having a tortoise as a pet is not the same as owning a cat or dog. You and your kids need to be more involved in taking care of them to ensure they receive the necessary care. Do proper research and make sure you are committed before you own one.

There is no reason to fear that a tortoise will harm your kid.

2 thoughts on “Are Greek Tortoises Good Pets For Kids?”

  1. Avatar
    Tortoise owner

    I have a greek tortoise called Arnold.

    He’s nice and cute, but I wouldn’t dare to introduce him to some new people I didn’t know. Once I borrowed him to a friend because I was going on holiday. His dog went absolutely MENTAL when he saw the tortoise..trying to kick it, barked at it constantly and was, according to my friend, close to killing it.

    You should know that dogs and tortoises don’t go very well together.

  2. Avatar
    Kiara Tortoise owner

    I am more concerned that people feed their tortoises too much supplements. It’s OK, they really need their vitamins, but not too much. That’s actually dangerous for their tortoise.

    My aunt had a greek tortoise that was given way too much supplements (she was feeding the tortoise vitamins instead of proper food). Luckily, I stopped that madness before the turtle died, but it was not feeling well at all.

    Turtles in captivity usually need a supplement of vitamins and minerals. You can buy such supplemental feed at the pet store. Be careful not to give too much supplements, overdosing on vitamins and minerals can be just as harmful as a lack of such substances. A moderate amount once or twice a week is usually sufficient. It is recommended to have a sepia bark in the terrarium or fence. This is a good source of calcium that many turtles will gnaw on.

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