, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 557-558

Thermal benefits from familiarity with the environment in a reptile

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The tortoise Testudo hermanni Gmelin is non-territorial, frequents non-personal shelters and is generalist in diet, but stays within a home range very stable in time. Analysis of shell temperatures obtained at set intervals by radiothermometers showed that while tortoises resident in the study area behave as homoiotherms, animals imported from a similar environment appear relatively poikilotherms. Moreover, residents are more efficient in basking, reaching the daily thermal maxima systematically earlier than the unfamiliar animals. These observations support the hypothesis that its home range stability and the associated familiarity with the microenvironment facilitates the behavioural thermoregulation in T. hermanni.