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For tortoise, terrapin and turtle care and conservation

Recommended Reading


Understanding Mediterranean Tortoises

Thorsten Geier

Mediterranean Tortoises: Gentle Creatures in Hard Shells: A Naturalistic Guide to Housing, Nutrition and Hibernation

The sub-title of this book is Gentle Creatures in Hard Shells and it describes the naturalistic hudbandry of Mediterranean tortoises. There are chapters on the species and their natural habitats, landscaped outdoor enclosures and heated houses, foraging on a natural weed diet, breeding and raising juveniles, winding down and hibernation methods, and tortoises for children.

Available from Amazon at £16. Paperback, 176 pages, over 200 illustrations.




This list is just a small selection of the wide range of publications available, but provides a useful starting point to learning about chelonia in captivity and in the wild.

Reptiles are Cool! - Understanding my Tortoise

Siuna A. Reid

This book is aimed at children of 8-15 years and is written very clearly in short sections. The author is a vet who covers the basic needs of reptiles and then builds on these to explain how to keep a healthy tortoise. Colourful icons throughout link topics in the different sections, with colour photos and diagrams to illustrate simple tortoise anatomy and common ailments. Softback, 67 pages, £7.87. Published by Siuna A Reid (2013) and available from the BCG.

ISBN 978-0-9576568-2-6

Reptiles are Cool! - Understanding my Terrapin

Siuna A. Reid

This is a companion book in the series, also available from the BCG.

The Box Turtle Manual
Phillipe de Vosjoli & Roger Klingenberg (1995)
102 pages detailing the captive husbandry of all species of Asian and American box turtles. It includes superb photographic identification plates, along with many other informative photos on the different aspects of keeping these reptiles. Softback, £7.50
ISBN 1-882770-29-3

The Care and Breeding of the African Spurred Tortoise Geochelone sulcata
Richard & Robyn Wilson (1997)
36 pages. A useful beginners' guide to these rather large and imposing tortoises. They are becoming common in this country, and this gives the chance to understand the needs of the species before acquiring them. Softback, £6.75.
ISBN 1-8739-4351-2

The Great Survivors
Justin Gerlach (2012)
229 pages describing the evolution of chelonia. The book covers most fossils and every living species, with brief natural history notes on each. The descriptions of modern species and their lifestyle make it suitable for the casual reader as well as for scientific interest. It is abundantly illustrated with maps and the author’s own line drawings. References are given at the end of each chapter, but the flow is not interrupted by including them in the text. Considering the prices that scientific books usually command, this one offers incredibly good value. Softback, £15.
ISBN 978-1-4716-0084-5. Phelsuma Press, Cambridge.

Health Care and Rehabilitation of Turtles and Tortoises
Amanda Ebenhack (2012)
392 pages containing a wealth of information on first aid and supportive care for most diseases or injuries of tortoises and turtles. In addition, there is great detail on anatomy and all aspects of captive care. The book is lavishly illustrated and includes most current information on care and rehabilitation. Softback.
ISBN 978-0-9787556-8-3. Living Art Publishing.

Keeping a Pet Tortoise
A.C. Highfield and Nadine Highfield (2009)
64 pages of basic information on all aspects of keeping and breeding tortoises, including brief details for exotic species, with many colour photos. Hardback, £6.99.
ISBN 978-1-84286-213-1. Interpet Publishing.

Pet Owner’s Guide to the Tortoise
Simon J. Girling (2008)
A brief overview in 80 pages of keeping tortoises as pets, with colour photos throughout, written by a vet specializing in exotics. Includes a section on health care and common diseases. Hardback, £6.99.
ISBN 978-1-86054-119-3. Interpet Publishing.


A Revised Checklist with Distribution Maps of the Turtles of the World
J.B. Iverson (1992)
363 pages of maps, identification and notes. This book draws one into the technical details and history of the identification of chelonia specimens. Softback, £55.
ISBN 0-9617431-0-5

Russian Tortoises
E.J. Pirog (2005)
128 pages. As well as Horsfield’s Tortoise, this complete care manual also includes Spur-thighed, Marginated, Hermann’s and Egyptian Tortoises, with colour photos throughout. Softback, £11.99.
ISBN 978-0-7938-2882-1. TFH Publications.

Saving Sea Turtles
James R. Spotila (2011)
216 pages. Descriptive accounts from the author’s own experience, showing what sea turtle conservationists are up against, with a section of colour plates. Hardback, £13.
ISBN 10: 0-8018-9907-9; ISBN 13: 978-0-8018-9907-2. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Sulcata and Leopard Tortoises
E.J. Pirog (2008)
128 pages describing the natural history, captive breeding and care of Sulcata and Leopard Tortoises from the author’s own experience of these animals, with colour photos. Softback, £11.99.
ISBN 978-0-7938-2898-2. TFH Publications.

Tortoise – Pet Expert: Understanding and Caring for your Pet
Lance Jepson (2011)
Written as a beginner’s guide by a vet with wide reptile experience. Well illustrated and highly informative. Softback, £9.99.
ISBN 978-1-9073-3714-7

E.J. Pirog (2012)
128 pages. This title covers more than 15 species available in the reptile hobby, both common and rare, including Russian, Yellow-foot, Sulcata, Leopard and Star Tortoises. It discusses topics vital to caring for your tortoise, such as housing, temperature and humidity control, lighting, and feeding. This expertly written book includes details on constructing and maintaining outdoor enclosures. The author, an experienced tortoise breeder, guides the reader through the process of breeding and raising these reptiles. Photos illustrate each species, several enclosures and other important topics. Softback, £11.99.
ISBN 0-7938-2882-1. TFH Publications.

Turtles and Tortoises of the World
David Alderton (1988)
191 pages with many coloured photos and black and white drawings. Very readable with plenty of background information on form and function. Hardback, £14.95.
ISBN 0-7137-1970-2. Blandford Press.

Turtles of the United States and Canada
Carl H. Ernst & Jeffery E. Lovich (2009)
827 pages. This huge book is the revised (2nd) edition of the 1972 volume. It covers the natural history of every known North American species in great detail and is lavishly illustrated. Hardback, £44.
ISBN 10: 0-8018-9121-3; ISBN 13: 978-0-8018-9121-2

Turtles of the World
Franck Bonin, Bernard Devaux & Alain Dupré (2006)
416 pages with detailed descriptions and natural history of every known species, with maps and colour photos throughout. Translated from French by Peter Pritchard. Hardback, £35.00.
ISBN 0-7136-8235-3. A & C Black Publishers Ltd.

Turtles of the World
Carl H. Ernst & Roger W. Barbour (1989)
290 pages listing the basic identification, habitats and distribution of most of the world's chelonia with coloured and black and white photos plates. Softback, £20.
ISBN 1-56098-212-8

Turtles: The Animal Answer Guide
Whit Gibbons & Judy Green (2009)
163 pages answering diverse questions about all types of chelonians, with colour and black and white photos. Softback, £13.
ISBN 10: 0-8018-9350-X; ISBN 13: 978-0-8018-9350-6. Johns Hopkins University Press.


Veterinary Management of Tortoises and Turtles
Stuart McArthur (1996)
170 pages for vets and keen amateurs on all aspects of caring for sick tortoises and turtles, written by a vet specializing in exotics. Gives the owner a clear idea of what can be done for their tortoise or turtle when it is ill. Softback, £39.50.
ISBN 0-632-04059-9. Blackwell Publishing.

“Wildlife Forensic Investigation: Principles and Practice”
This book by Professor John E. Cooper and his wife Mrs Margaret E. Cooper has contributions from many countries in the world and a Foreword by Dr Lee Durrell.

The book provides an in-depth introduction to the rapidly-evolving field of wildlife forensics. It explains and discusses the crucial role of sound scientific investigation and an understanding of the law in combating wildlife crime and cruelty to animals. The text particularly focuses on forensic science as it relates to animals, free-living and captive, but it also includes mention of threats to plants and habitats because of their relevance to environmental conservation. The damage that can be inflicted on humans and property by wildlife is also covered.

John and Margaret Cooper are a British husband and wife team, a wildlife veterinary surgeon with specialist training in comparative pathology and tropical medicine and a lawyer who has made her special interest animal and conservation legislation. The Coopers have lived and worked in Africa (including two years in Rwanda with the mountain gorillas), Arabia, continental Europe and the Caribbean. Throughout, they have promoted an inter¬disciplinary, “One Health”, approach to veterinary and biological education, wildlife conservation and forensic science. Now based in the United Kingdom, the Coopers teach at universities and continue their work in East Africa with wildlife, domesticated animals and local communities.

Further information about the book, and how to order (receive a 20% discount when ordering on-line by entering promotion code 083MA), click on the following link: Wildlife Forensics: Principles and Practice.

ISBN 978-1-4398-1374-4, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group. Hardback, 743 pages, £82.

Many of the books listed above are available from J.G. Natural History Books at . This supplier is a longstanding BCG member who takes a special interest in obtaining obscure books, and can also trace out of print titles.
Email: jgbooks{at}