Testudo Kleinmanni – Described by Lortet in 1883 – has several common names: the Egyptian tortoise, the miniature tortoise and the Kleinmann tortoise. They are a costal species, and are never found any more than 100km from the sea. These are some of the smallest species of all tortoises on earth, and make excellent pet tortoises, however due to their near extinction in the wild they nearly only exist in captive breeding programs, like ours. That being said, these cute little golden dinosaurs only produce 1 egg per female, per year, and therefore are pricey. If you are looking for the rarest of the rare, and the smallest of the small, this is it.
This little tortoise has unfortunately become very rare over the last couple of decades and is now bordering on extinction. Their natural range is limited to Northern Egypt, Western Negev, Israel and Northern Cyrenaica, Libya. Despite conservation efforts from groups such as The Tortoise Trust, it is still being exploited for the black market pet trade and tourist trades – often resulting in the deaths of animals to make a macabre musical instrument out of their carapaces.
Now considered to be the rarest of all the testudo species, Klienmann’s Tortoises have been granted the highest CITIES protection of Appendix 1 due to extensive habitat destruction and over collection. Researchers working with this species have designated it to be on the fast track for extinction – calling for urgent measures to be taken to save it.