This species originated from southern Greece and it is said that the Franciscans introduced it to Sardinia in the distant past, probably for food. These species can be distinguished from the other tortoise species by its long shell shape and its dark brown colour, with yellow areola which tend to disappear with age. The shell is characterised by large triangular black spots, which makes it possible to distinguish the young tortoises of this species from Greek tortoises. The males have a much more concave shell and a larger tail compared to the females. They prefer to live in the forest, bush lands, evergreen or deciduous, as their diet is primarily vegetarian. It spends its winter hibernating in a hole in the ground, although it can wake up on occasions when the weather is warm. Habitat and ecology: It is a rare species at regional, national level and vulnerable in Europe. It is threatened by collection for commercial purposes and fires. Degree of protection: Berne Convention (Law 503/1981, Annex II); Dir. CEE 43/92 All. B,D; Regional Law 29 July 1998, n° 23.