Egyptian Tortoise

Egyptian Tortoises

Keep your eyes peeled for one of the world’s smallest tortoise species. We are home to females ‘Rosetta’, ‘Minya’, and ‘Alexandria’ and males ‘Zella’, ‘Edfu’, ‘Luxor’, ‘Cairo’, and ‘Nalut’.

A body built for the desert

Egyptian tortoises are known for their small size, which is an excellent adaptation that allows them to easily regulate their temperature and avoid overheating. Being pale in colour allows an Egyptian tortoise to reflect heat, as well as hide from predators, in their desert home. While this species is active during the day, they rest during high heat and browse for food at dawn and dusk. 


  • IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered (at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild)
  • Type: Reptile
  • Habitat: Desert along the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea
  • Diet: leaves, flowers, and grasses
  • Size: Up to 12.7 centimetres long
  • Weight: 156 to 354 grams
Egyptian Tortoise Egyptian tortoise, Minya, female

Care & Conservation

How we care for them

At the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, we are bringing together our passion for plants and animals with our dedication to taking and inspiring action to sustain wildlife and wild places.
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facts about our animals

Fun Facts about Egyptian Tortoises

A group of tortoises is collectively known as a “creep”.

Egyptian tortoises get their water from eating plants.

A tortoise will take over an abandoned rodent burrow to make its home.

A female tortoise will lay between one and five eggs.

This is the smallest species of tortoise found in the northern hemisphere.

Male Egyptian tortoises are smaller than females but have longer tails.


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