Marginated tortoises (Testudo marginata) are the largest of the four European tortoises. They reach a weight of up to 11 pounds and a length of 14 inches. Males can grow about 2 inches longer than females. The marginated tortoise’s shell is elongated, and the posterior end of the shell flares out like a skirt. Its common name comes from the flaring seen in the marginal scales. The shell is more flattened than some of the tropical species and the carapace of adult specimens is almost completely black with yellow highlights. Males have a more slender shell with a “waist,” while females’ shells are more round. Hatchling and juvenile marginateds are beautifully marked tortoises that eventually turn to their adult colors. Marginated tortoises can live to 80 years or more.
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