If you are considering adopting or purchasing a Hermann tortoise, it’s essential to know how much they cost. Not only will you have to consider the average price to buy one, but you’ll want to know about the other additional costs that these pets can incur over the course of their very long lives. Here’s everything you need to know to be able to budget accordingly.
So, how much does a Hermann tortoise cost? The average cost of a Hermann tortoise is typically between $150 to $500 (though some Egyptian Hermann tortoises can cost as much as $1000!) Unlike with other tortoise species, the older the tortoise, the more you’ll usually pay. Other upfront costs, like enclosure items, will cost around $300 to $400. Anticipate another $400 per year for their care (mostly for food).
Now, this may all seem affordable, next you need to consider the longevity of this particular species.
And tortoises in general.
Hermann tortoises can live up to 90 years, sometimes more.
That’s a huge commitment – not just in regards to their care, but financially too.
A little bit of quick maths tells me that’s around $36,000 over the course of their lives!
But it’s important to know, even if it is going to be split over many years, and this is probably on the higher end.
Nevertheless, let us now walk through all of the costs when owning this particular species so you can set your expectations and plan accordingly from the outset!
Factors That Influence the Cost Of A Hermann Tortoise
Several different factors influence the cost of a Hermann tortoise.
The Age Of The Hermann Tortoise
Age is a significant factor in the purchase price of a Hermann tortoise.
Babies or hatchlings will usually cost less than an older tortoise because of the costs involved with raising them to adulthood.
Young tortoises are the cheapest option, generally starting at $150.
If money is a consideration for you, consider adopting a Hermann tortoise from an animal rescue shelter.
You will have the satisfaction of providing a loving home for a tortoise in need!
The Origin Of Your Hermann Tortoise
The best practice when buying a Hermann tortoise is to do so from a reputable breeder.
You don’t want to purchase your tortoise from a dealer or pet shop because there’s a greater risk that these animals have come from a source that could be putting wild populations at risk.
Captive-bred tortoises also tend to be less costly to buy than those caught in the wild. When you buy from a breeder, you’ll be able to know a lot about your friend’s life before they come into your care.
In addition, good breeders will have given your Hermann tortoise lots of loving and expert care, so you’ll save money in the long run by having a happier and healthier pet.
Therefore, you’ll run less of a risk of expensive vet bills!
If you aren’t sure where to find a reputable breeder, you can ask any vet who deals with exotic animals or other reptile owners.
Other Upfront Costs When Buying a Hermann Tortoise
In addition to the cost of purchasing your Hermann tortoise, you’ll want to budget for other initial expenses.
Housing For Your Hermann Tortoise
Make sure that your new tort has an enclosure as large as possible so that they can reach their full growth (and happiness) potential.
If you live in a warm part of the world, keep your tortoise outside where possible.
Hermann tortoises do best in outdoor enclosures with sunlight, and their natural habitat is easier to replicate outdoors.
Hermann tortoises are keen diggers, so make sure the enclosure is fenced in with something solid such as brick or concrete.
Make walls that are at least 18 inches high, with the walls extending a few feet underground to prevent your friend from digging a burrow into the neighbor’s yard!
Suitable enclosures for tortoises range from $125 to about $200, depending on the brand and the size.
The most highly-rated brands are closer to $200, starting at about $150.
For the base of your outdoor enclosure, natural soil is OK, as long as it’s relatively dry.
Due to their size, if you have to keep your friend indoors (so if you live in a cooler climate), use a wooden vivarium at least 24 inches deep and 48 inches long (for one tortoise). Make sure there’s lots of headroom, too.
Additional Enclosure Accessories
An indoor enclosure needs to have some substrate for a base that will stay dry without affecting humidity levels: try a cypress bark, soil, and sand mixture.
Most substrates cost around $50.
You’ll want to add some plants to your tortoise’s home, too.
Try to use plants from arid regions: check with your vet or breeder for the best plants available in your area.
The cost of plants starts at about $10, but you may want to consider growing your own.
You can grow plants that your tortoise will love to munch on, such as clover, nasturtiums, or geraniums, in your windowsill for very little money and a very happy tortoise!
There are, in fact, many plants that are easy to grow that tortoises love to munch on.
Hermann tortoises usually spend most of their time in evergreen forests and on rocky hillsides: this is the type of environment that you want to recreate as best you can.
And all tortoises need a hide box.
Outdoors, a hide box provides shelter from the rays of the sun as well as rain and snow.
Make sure the hide box is big enough for your friend to fit their whole body inside comfortably.
The best temperatures for Hermann tortoises range from 60 to 86 degrees F.
Tortoises will bask in sunlight (or under a UVB lamp) to regulate their temperature themselves.
For an indoor space, have one side of the enclosure provide a basking lamp with a temperature beneath of 90 to 95 degrees.
The other side of the enclosure can be cooler, closer to 80 degrees.
Keep your UV lamp on for 12 to 14 hours daily (you can get one with a timer).
Don’t have the light on at night because tortoises (like humans) need a cycle of night following day.
On average, allow about $50 on an excellent UVB lamp for tortoises.
You’ll need to change the UVB bulb every 6 months (UVB bulbs start at around $20).
If your Hermann tortoise were to get too cold, it will likely go into hibernation.
Humidity And Water
Humidity levels need to be at least 25 percent and stay under 70 percent (to prevent respiratory infections).
It’s worth investing in a good quality hygrometer: they’re available for as little as $10.
You’ll also want to provide water for your friend.
If your tap water is good enough for you to drink, it’s good enough for your tortoise, so get a good-sized bowl that’s shallow enough for your pet to climb into for bathing.
Your tortoise needs a shallow bath for about 10 minutes, 2 to 3 times per week.
Baths allow them to hydrate and stimulate them to eliminate waste, hence the need to keep an eye on the cleanliness of the water: tortoises like to defecate while drinking the bath water!
Ongoing Costs When Owning a Hermann Tortoise
There are ongoing maintenance costs for your Hermann tortoise, but the good news is that these animals don’t require much to stay healthy and happy.
Food For Your Hermann Tortoise
Your tortoise’s ideal diet needs to include lots of vegetation, most of which should be leafy greens and other foods, such as:
- Brussel sprout tops
- Spring greens
- Curly kale
Tortoise experts recommend a diet that’s rich in calcium, low in protein, and high in fiber.
You can provide excellent fiber for your friend with some wild plants and weeds like:
- Corn poppy
- White nettle
Initially, you’ll probably spend about $50 for your friend’s food, with about $1 per day for ongoing food costs.
To save money on food, you can buy some items in bulk or grow your own tortoise food (as mentioned in the Enclosure section above).
Make sure that greens and weeds are free of pesticides.
Hermann tortoises can live for 90 years or more, so they do require a long-term commitment.
Besides their food, the main ongoing expense to take into account is vet check-ups.
The good news is that vet check-ups for tortoises aren’t too expensive compared to other animals: they usually work out at about $30.
The best practice is to have your vet check your friend’s health every year to prevent any health issues and certainly to get a check-up when you first get your pet.
You can help prevent health issues by knowing what to look for if your friend appears to be ill.
The faster you can catch any problems, the easier (and most likely cheaper) they’ll be to address.
Healthy Signs In Your Hermann Tortoise
Look for all of these signs of good Hermann tortoise health:
- Your friend’s shell is smooth and free from any odd bumps or irregularities
- Their urates are white and semi-liquid, with a clean fecal vent
- They are active: moving around, soaking in their water, and basking in the heat
- They eat regularly and have a steady appetite
Signs of Sickness In Your Hermann Tortoise
If you see any of the following signs, immediately bring your Hermann tortoise to your vet:
- A runny nose or bubbles from the nose
- Swollen or reddened eyes (or symptoms of conjunctivitis)
- Labored breathing or wheezing
- Sunken eyes or swollen eyelids
- Prominent bones in the head or their limbs, or noticeable and sudden weight loss or gain
- Loose or runny stools with mucus
- Lethargy (general lack of activity)
Hermann tortoises are not cheap.
While they may appear somewhat affordable upfront, especially compared to other pets like cats and dogs, the financial implications generally arise from the fact that they live a long time.
A very long time, indeed.
At least with optimal care.
So, if you are seriously considering this species, or a tortoise in general, do take this into account.
It’s a huge commitment – not just on your part, but for the wider family too!
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.