Condition calculations

This program calculates body mass condition of the tortoises Testudo graeca, T. hermanni and T. marginata of carapace length 100 mm or larger.

The method is described in Hailey (2000). The equations used for all three species and studies of captive tortoises are described in Willemsen and Hailey (2002) and Willemsen et al. (2002).

It is important to measure length and weight accurately, and in the standard way, otherwise the condition index may be very misleading. A condition index of -0.1 corresponds to about 80 % of expected weight, Jackson's "dangerously low" threshold (Jackson, 1985).

Proceed with calculation. This requires a browser that supports Javascript. You enter tortoise length, weight, species and sex at the prompts; if the sex is not known, enter this as female. Recent versions of Internet Explorer may block your computer from running scripts for security. If the calculate page (link below) does not function, right-click anywhere on that page, then select "Export to Microsoft Excel". The calculation should then work in a new window. (July 2010: Thanks to Alexandra Schek of Giessen, Germany, for pointing out this problem.)

You can also take part in a survey to determine factors that affect the condition index in captive tortoises. This is done anonymously, though you may identify yourself in the box on the form if you wish. Otherwise, you cannot be traced - data reaches me through a cgi script, not from your email address.

The "Health notes" box should include anything that may influence the condition of the tortoise, such as unusual shape (e.g. "has knobbly carapace"), activity (e.g. "lost appetite recently") or disease. The "General notes" box can include any comments on housing etc. There is no length limit; text will scroll to the left if you fill the boxes.

Please submit data for all your tortoises, whatever their condition, each animal only once. (You do not need to enter the calculated condition index, this will be done automatically from the length and mass.) The data are retained on screen after submission so that only details of the tortoise need be changed; details of housing etc need not be re-entered each time.

Links to other websites from the condition papers:


Hailey, A. (2000). Assessing body mass condition in the tortoise Testudo hermanni. Herpetol. J. 10: 57-61. abstract . download

Jackson, O.F. (1985). The clinical examination of reptiles. In Reptiles: breeding, behaviour and veterinary aspects, pp 91-97. Townson, S. & Lawrence, K. (Eds). British Herpetological Society, London.

Willemsen, R. E. & Hailey, A. (2002). Body mass condition in Greek tortoises: regional and interspecific variation. Herpetol. J. 12: 105-114. abstract . download

Willemsen, R. E., Hailey, A., Longepierre, S. & Grenot, C. (2002). Body mass condition and management of captive European tortoises. Herpetol. J. 12: 115-121. abstract . download

© Copyright A. Hailey 2001-