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Ecoprojects and environmental education


The Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca), also known commonly as the spur-thighed tortoise, is a terrestrial turtle with a shell that covers most of the body. Due to its external appearance, it can be easily confused with its relative, the Mediterranean tortoise (Testudo hermanni), which we also find in Mallorca. The most characteristic and easy features to differentiate it from this one are the following:

1. Carapace burnt, brown or dark gray with irregular dark spots, poorly defined and highly variable between specimens, while the Mediterranean tortoise is yellow with more defined black spots.


A) The supracaudal plate is entire, while in the Mediterranean tortoise it is divided.

B) Plastron with irregular dark spots, while in the Mediterranean it presents two longitudinal black bands.

C) The Greek tortoise has a spur on the back of each thigh. The tip of the Greek tortoise's tail is bare while in the Mediterranean it has a double scale at the end, similar to a horny nail.


The Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca) is a species currently threatened by (1) the alteration and loss of habitat, either due to changes in land use or the fragmentation of the territory, and (2) the illegal capture of wild individuals, to have them in private gardens.

In the public estate of Galatzó we have an Official Center for the Reception of the Greek tortoise, in collaboration with the Species Protection Service of the Balearic Islands and the Consortium for the Recovery of the Fauna of the Balearic Islands (COFIB) .

If you have a Greek tortoise at home, take it to the Galatzó Reception Center (971 130 577; or to the COFIB (Carretera Palma-Sineu, Km 15; 607554055). Those responsible for COFIB will first identify it, verify that it is healthy, and later we will release it in the field to increase the number of individuals released.

It is very important not to release any turtle into the environment without first passing through the COFIB, since it has to be verified that it is healthy and a suitable place has to be chosen.

The Greek Tortoise Center consists of 30 m², with two-three specimens, for environmental education, and a small quarantine area, to temporarily house those specimens from donations from individuals (who have kept them as pets in private gardens), prior to review by COFIB staff.